Councillor hits out at controversial Co-op funeral parlour plans for Acle

Acle's Village Coop, which is closing to make way for a new shop on Norwich Road Picture: David Hann

Acle's Village Coop, which is closing to make way for a new shop on Norwich Road Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

A concerned councillor has hit out at plans to replace a grocery shop with a funeral parlour, saying the move is a loss of a village 'life line'.

East of England Co-op has announced plans to open a new supermarket in Acle, which would see its current shop replaced with an office and a funeral parlour.

However, the plans have received criticism from the village's district councillor Lana Hempsall, who feels it is unfair to elderly residents living nearby.

The current shop, on Main Street, is adjacent to The Limes, an assisted living development for the elderly, as well as being nearby other vulnerable residents.

Mrs Hempsall has received a number of complaints from residents about the move, which would eventually see the store relocate to Norwich Road.

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She said: 'It is a small shop in the centre of the village that is accessible to residents who don't have the mobility to get to Norwich Road. It is constantly busy and extremely important to these people.

'They can have groceries delivered, but this is about more than that. The shop being where it is provides them with independence and social interaction, which to these people is a life line.'

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Mrs Hempsall said concerns had been expressed to her about the extra distance people would have to travel by foot to reach the new shop - around an extra quarter of a mile.

She added: 'Not only will these very frail elderly people be deprived of part of their independence and important social interaction, they will be living next door to their next stopping place.'

The councillor added that she is hoping to meet with executives of East of England Co-op to discuss the matter but is finding this tough to arrange.

'I accept they are running a business and I am sure they are excited about their new premises, but I would like to discuss a case for both stories to remain open,' she added.

'I would think it would be in Co-op's ethos to support the community in this way.'

Roger Grosvenor, joint CEO of East of England Co-op said: 'Having been a part of the Acle community for a number of years, we're delighted to be opening a new, larger store which will allow us to expand our services and range of products for our members and customers.'

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