Helen Coggles, left, and Nikki Martin outside the new Downham Market premises. Picture: Ian Burt

A.J Coggles Family Funeral Directors is looking to the future, announcing plans to move to larger premises in Downham Market.

The fifth generation family firm is to relocate from its current base in Bridge Street to the former Barclays bank, also in Bridge Street, following a major refurbishment project.

Plans for the new premises include two chapels of rest, one able to accommodate up to 30 people. 

The multi-use space will also host small services, seminars and charity coffee mornings, while a regular bereavement cafe with guest speakers is also planned.

Arranging rooms with comfortable waiting areas  will be in keeping with the style and architecture of the old bank, with the high ceiling and decorative mouldings remaining in place, the firm has said.

A spokesman said: “This move is incredibly important to us as we want to be able to offer our services to the people of Downham Market and the surrounding areas for many years to come in a building that allows us to develop. 

“It’s important to us to offer the families we are helping a warm and caring environment.

“The move follows the need for more space and improved customer access to our facilities, while also providing comfortable working spaces for our dedicated team.”

The business, established in 1851, first arrived in Downham in 1990.

David Coggles (son) said: “We are continuously reviewing our facilities in King’s Lynn, Wisbech and here in Downham Market to ensure we are meeting the needs of our families. 

“Downham Market is a wonderful place and we are delighted that we are able to move to a larger premises and still be in the centre of the town, being with the community that means so much to us.

“After removing the banking counter and internal walls, we were able to start with a blank canvas to give purpose-built facilities designed around the families we serve.

“The new location allows us to continue to offer the same excellent service we pride ourselves here at A.J Coggles, while providing more room to ensure our visitors’ time here is as comfortable as it can be.”

Nikki Martin, branch arranger, added:  “I am looking forward to being able to offer our families more space, comfort and facilities during such a difficult time for them. 

“We pride ourselves on being one big family and with the new premises we can offer families the space and homely comforts to spend time with their loved ones and to arrange their final journey.”

It is hoped the refurbishment will be completed by the late summer.