Undertaker wheels coffins through street after parking blunder

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A FUNERAL director is having to haul coffins up to 150 yards down a street after council bunglers got rid of his parking space.

William Lawrie  says he is “embarrassed” to have to place coffins on a trolley and wheel them down the street in full view of drivers and passers-by.

The undertaker says the extension of a bus stop and moving of a taxi rank in Haddington, East Lothian, eradicated all parking directly outside his premises.

William Lawrie tries to avoid elderly pedestrians while wheeling coffins in the street.
William Lawrie tries to avoid elderly pedestrians while wheeling coffins in the street.

 

Instead of being able to discreetly transfer coffins to and from hearses he is having to take the dead on an undignified trundle through the town’s busy Market Street.

He said: “I feel embarrassed when I have got to bring a coffin into my shop and use the trolley to take the coffin down the street. It’s not very appropriate.

“I used to take it straight out the door into the hearse.

“Unfortunately, I can’t do that at the moment.”

Mr Lawrie turns heads - for all the wrong reaons
Mr Lawrie turns heads – for all the wrong reasons

 

Mr Lawrie holds about two funerals per week, and needs to park on Market Street on funeral days for about 30 minutes.

The funeral director says the situation could force him out of his premises.

“Furthermore, I’ve got the rank sitting right outside my window now.

“They can sit and look right into my premises. I run a sensitive premises. Where am I to go  now on days I have a funeral?

“I can’t park in the bus stop or the taxi rank. If I park in the middle of the road, it leads to confrontation by other road users.”

A bus load of passengers get a foretaste of their own final journeys
A bus load of passengers get a foretaste of their own final journeys

 

The situation even forces the  funeral director to peek outside to make sure there are no elderly people about, as not to give them a shock.

He said: “I try to be as discreet as I can. I have to look out my door to make sure it is clear and to make sure that there are no elderly people that might get a shock if they see me taking the coffins down the street.”

“I’m getting to the stage where I could end up closing up business and going elsewhere.”

Taxis can now stop directly outside his premises - but not Mr Lawrie.
Taxis can now stop directly outside his premises – but not Mr Lawrie.

 

Councillor John McMillan, Haddington ward member, said: “We are looking into this, but hopefully it will all be [considered as] part of the Haddington Vision group, looking at parking. I realise that it is causing Mr Lawrie some difficulties.”

Mr Lawrie says he may have no choice but to move from the premises he has used for years
Mr Lawrie says he may have no choice but to move from the premises he has used for years

 

A council spokeswoman claimed that no parking had been lost on the street, despite changes to the road markings.

She said: “The introduction of the new crossing has not resulted in any major changes to the parking arrangements in the area.

“However, we do think that the time is right to begin a review of parking in Haddington as  a whole and hope to be consulting with the Haddington Vision group and the community council about this in the near future.”

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