Concerns over the impact that the funeral directors moving into the old Woolies store will have on parking in Brechin have been raised by a local businessman.
Kevin Mackie voiced his concern over the move, claiming it will cause more parking problems within the town centre and will discourage shoppers from spending money in the centre.
“I am absolutely astonished, that given the car parking problems that Brechin has had for a number of years, to hear that the funeral directors have moved into the Woolworths building,” he said.
“It will only fill the free parking, if there is any available, which will further eliminate the potential of the shops in the town prospering.
“I can’t imagine Brymers Butchers or many of the other retailers in the area are viewing this as a positive for Brechin.
“We are trying to encourage retail business to Brechin but one of the main points of discussion that always come up when meeting these retailers is the lack of parking.”
Mr Mackie commented that he was all for new business opening in the town centre but stated this is not a new business, rather one that has relocated from another part of the town.
He stated his surprise that the roads department considered that Brechin has ample parking in the town centre.
He also questioned the logic in allowing vehicles to now reverse off the main street and over the pavement to the new access to the funeral directors when there hasn’t been a vehicle access there before.
Brechin City Funeral Directors and Monumental Masons Limited opened for business at Clerk Street, having moved from the old City Club at Southesk Street.
Responding to the claims, a spokesperson for Brechin City Funeral Directors said: “We at Brechin City Funeral Directors understand that there have been verbal complaints that this new business will create traffic problems.
“Like any new business, the first port of call is Angus Council and, in this instance, it has been confirmed in writing that funeral director businesses are in the same class use as the retail sector and sit comfortably within this sector. As such they do not require the benefit of planning change of use to take over and occupy retail units.
“Secondly, on checking with Angus Council roads department, any new business in this class use does not require to provide customer/client parking.
“The roads department consider there is sufficient town centre parking in Church Street and Maisondieu Lane to service all businesses.
“The level of business that will be generated by the undertakers requiring town centre parking will be minimal and certainly not as demanding as a funeral at Brechin Cathedral.
“Any person making comment about town centre parking should consider that the more people that can be attracted to the centre is a benefit to all and will result in a positive spin-off business.
“We can see that this new business will generate substantial benefits to local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, cafés, florists, etc. and many more.
“Funeral directors are a traditional business found in most town centres, along with religious subjects. All have their part to play in the community.”
A spokesperson for Angus Council said: “A traffic management review was carried out recently in Brechin city centre and reported to committee in February.
“Although it is seen as desirable to increase the parking provision in the city centre, no suitable off-street car parking site has been identified at this time.
“Planning permission was not required to use the former retail unit for a funeral directors’ business.
“The current application for proposed vehicle access from the public road is still being assessed and no decision has yet been made.”