“A cloud of grief and bereavement is not compatible with fine dining and shopping for bespoke retail offerings,” she said.
Cr Price said planning documents failed to address how regulations about body storage, transportation and refrigeration would be met.
Fellow councillor Luise Elsing said residents were also concerned the funeral parlour would cause more traffic congestion on Ocean Street, “which is already a car park”.
Cr Elsing said the safety of primary school children using a back lane that would also be used by funeral vehicles had also been raised by parents.
“Woollahra has had a significant increase in population and new dwellings which makes the contest over public spaces even more acute,” she said.
Matthew Ramaley, a spokesman on behalf of residents opposed to the proposal, said the funeral home was “grossly inappropriate” for Woollahra village, which has homewares shops, a bottle shop and a family restaurant.
“What will happen to the patronage of Cafe Nino if diners must consider that there is a deceased body on display next door or as the bereaved depart the premises onto the Ocean Street footpath?” he said.
Mr Ramaley also raised the prospect of young children having to halt play while a hearse attempts to back into the funeral home or “when a coffin is lazily wheeled out of a mortuary vehicle”.
He conceded the stoush allowed “postcode satirists” to poke fun at Woollahra residents objecting to a funeral home in “the middle of an old folks’ village”.
But he warned the matter could set “a dangerous precedent” that businesses would use to “justify polluting other cherished local village streetscapes.”
In response, Mr Walker said privacy measures would ensure funeral activities were not visible from the street.
“We have provided a management plan where all coffins are brought to the site via the rear lane, and propose to have garaging to shield any coffins coming on site,” he said.
Mr Walker said there was adequate on-site parking and a funeral home was permissible under local planning rules, pointing to Sydney Chevra Kadisha funeral home located further along Ocean Street.
There was a limited choice of funeral providers in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, he said. “The cost of funerals can be expensive and we will be offering a number of low cost services to local residents.”
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