Mourners upset at double-decker bus parked in Derby cemetery

today1 September 2022 2

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Council bosses have told a Derby homeowner to remove a double-decker bus from within the grounds of a cemetery after its appearance angered mourners.

An Arriva bus has been seen parked at the front gates of the Uttoxeter New Road cemetery in the last few days, sparking complaints to Derby City Council, which runs the cemetery.

Inside the grounds, a private house is situated next to the graveyard which is owned by Rashpal Lal. Mr Lal and his wife bought the former council-owned three-bed house for £200,000 last year with the aim of turning it into a community centre.

Read more: Get the latest Derby City Council stories from Derbyshire Live

Mr Lal says the bus was donated to him by Arriva as part of a charity project called “Butterflies” he is organising which would see the bus used as a temporary community hub while the house is being renovated. But the appearance of the bus has angered visitors to the cemetery.

One recent visitor to the cemetery, named Tasha, said: “I’ve seen a double-decker bus parked blocking the car park and making it look a shocking mess to be honest, is the most upsetting thing for any loved one visiting a grave. So, when I visit my relative who should be at rest, I have to be watched by a double-decker full of people.”

A double decker bus can be seen parked at a Derby cemetery, sparking anger
A double decker bus can be seen parked at a Derby cemetery, sparking anger

And Ashley Waterhouse, chairman of Derby Civic Society, says the bus is an “eyesore”. He said: “I can’t understand why anyone would want to see a double-decker bus when paying respect to loves ones in a Grade-II listed cemetery. Personally, it’s an eyesore and it needs to be shifted forthwith.”

Derby City Council has told the Local Democracy Reporting Service it is aware of the situation and has told Mr Lal to remove the bus or at least put fencing around it so it doesn’t disturb visitors to the cemetery.

But Mr Lal dismissed that there would be a lot of people in the bus at one time, saying there would only be a few people at most.

He said: “If I have to remove it, I’ll remove it. I don’t want to offend anyone – that’s the last thing I want to do. I can understand if it is distasteful, but it is parked on my land.

“What I want to do is to help people and the idea behind the bus is for it to become a place where people can talk about problems. We would paint it and blend it in with the existing scenery and put fencing around it. It is a place where people can come to.

“But if there is a problem with it, I won’t do it. If it is an eyesore I will move it, end of.”

Mr Lal said he was “over the moon” after the bus was donated to him because he was initially worried about whether the bus would get in through the front gates. He also claimed that he had helped people in the community including elderly people and drug addicts.

A Derby City Council spokesperson said: “Derby City Council is aware of the vehicle parked within the cemetery by the owner of the adjacent private residence. We have been in contact with the owner and have asked for the vehicle to be removed or the area around the residence to be fenced to ensure the vehicle is contained within the residence boundary.”

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