Massage parlour passed despite crime concerns

No harm would arise to nearby residents' living conditions or a school opposite by allowing conversion of a shop in Portsmouth to a massage salon, an inspector has decided.

The appeal proposal, occupying the ground floor of a terraced property, included a waiting room and an appointments system and would have restricted opening times. One of the main issues in the case related to possible harm to living conditions and the school from noise, disturbance and activity.

The inspector noted that the area’s character was mixed and that the size of the appeal premises would limit the number of customers using it. On this basis, he held that the proposal would not lead to undue noise and disturbance for nearby residents, nor to harm to the users of the school opposite. 

He acknowledged that there was evidence of criminal activity associated with such premises and gave weight to fears of crime, safeguarding issues for pupils of the school and related social and environmental implications. However, he saw nothing inherently nefarious in the provision of massage treatment, finding that it meets community needs, and held that such issues would only arise if illegal activity took place.

If the site were used for purposes other than for that for which it had consent, he reasoned, enforcement powers were available to the council and it was for other authorities to deal with any criminal activity. In the balance, he gave these concerns only limited weight. In his view, the development would not result in harm to the extent that private family life and homes would be interfered with.

Inspector: K Taylor; Written representations


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