Willesden café to become a funeral home that uses a VW van instead of a hearse

PUBLISHED: 11:15 22 December 2015 | UPDATED: 12:46 22 December 2015

Funeral Director named as Mr Zubair Zubair has agreed to swap a hearse for a VW Transporter van (Pic Credit: Google StreetView)

Funeral Director named as Mr Zubair Zubair has agreed to swap a hearse for a VW Transporter van (Pic Credit: Google StreetView)


When an aspiring funeral director was told the alleyway on his Willesden premises was too small to fit a hearse, he simply swapped his vehicle of choice to a VW transporter van.

The businessman named in Brent Council documents as Zubair Zubair applied to turn the vacant café on Church Road, into a funeral parlour in September but was told a narrow alleyway to the rear of the property was not suitable for manoeuvring a hearse.

Following a site visit, council officers accepted Mr Zubair’s proposal that he would transport bodies in and out of the funeral parlour by VW Transporter van as it would “still meet their requirements.”

At a meeting of Brent Council’s planning committee last week, councillors granted Mr Zubair permission to convert the café into a funeral services business.

They also approved the demolition of an extension to make way for a new single story extension at the rear of the property on the condition of certain access and usage requirements.

Plans submitted by Mr Zubair’s architect firm AW Architecture Ltd include a reception and waiting area in the shop front; a ‘laying out’ room; an ablution and preparation area for undertakers;and a presentation and resting area to the rear of the premises.

Documents submitted to the committee stipulate the business will only be able to make use of VW Transporter vans in the alleyway and that all manoeuvres will have to be carried out in forward gear to prevent blockages of the service road.

The document states: “Following completion of the committee report officers received further information from Transportation including tracking diagrams of a vehicle the length of a hearse manoeuvring in the service road to access the rear yard.

“The tracking diagram shows that with side boundary walls in place, the space is insufficient and a hearse cannot safely gain access to the rear to service the property.

“It is considered vital to the acceptability of the use that it is able to be serviced from the rear and the applicant has proposed that they will instead use a smaller VW Transporter van which would still meet their requirements.”

A spokesman for Brent Council said: “Brent Council’s Planning Committee approved this application for a funeral parlour. Of course, we’re equally as keen as the operators of the funeral home to ensure that the deceased are afforded every reasonable dignity. Access issues to the rear of the premises make it practical for use of a standard funeral vehicle, such as a van, but not for a long wheelbase hearse, so our planning consent will be contingent on the business providing a suitable service plan.

“Although perhaps slightly unusual in the detail, this shows how the Council is happy to work with businesses in securing appropriate planning consents.”

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