Confusion over 'mixed massages' at Preston parlour

A Thai massage parlour in Preston has applied for planning permission - two years after first it opened.
The Saa-On Thai Massage business in Tulketh Brow.The Saa-On Thai Massage business in Tulketh Brow.
The Saa-On Thai Massage business in Tulketh Brow.

The owners of Saa-On Thai Massage in Tulketh Brow admit they are only just seeking a change of use for the former hairdressing salon even though their business has been operating since October 2018.

A complaint has recently been lodged with the city council about the use of the premises as a massage parlour.

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Mona, who is the manager of the shop, which is next door to a funeral parlour, said she had been unaware it needed planning permission until just a few weeks ago.

And the owner, who asked not to be named, claimed they believed they did not have to apply for planning permission after talking to council officers prior to opening.

"When we opened it we went through all the necessary checks with the Town Hall," he said. "I told them we had been informed by the landlord it was classed as A1 retail. I asked if we needed to do anything and the answer was 'No.'

"But I'm told the council has now changed all the categories and it is no longer classed as A1 retail. We are now told we need to apply for a change of use and that's what we have done."

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Preston City Council, however, told the Post that no such advice had been given at the time.

A spokesman said: “I can confirm that the council has received a complaint relating to the use of this property.

"However our records show that no planning advice has previously been given on the change of use."

Saa-On staff say they offer only traditional massages - even for couples together - but admit there have been occasions when some customers have misunderstood.

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“Every now and again we do get people coming in who think there is more to it,” said Mona.

“When that happens we make it very, very clear to them we are not that type of business.They get told ‘No, all we offer is a massage.’

"The business is building up slowly and is proving quite popular. The area is busy and the neighbours have been brilliant.”