Thai massage hits a nerve

The HHS 'hairdresser's' shop in Golden Hill Lane
The HHS 'hairdresser's' shop in Golden Hill Lane

Plans for a Thai massage shop in Leyland have been muscled out by fears it would rob the town centre of a valuable retail unit.

Councillors voted down a change of use for the property in Golden Hill Lane (inset) from a “hairdresser’s” after officers raised concerns it would fly in the face of South Ribble Council’s attempts to boost the town’s appeal as a shopping destination.

The application was for a traditional Thai massage business opening from 10am to 10pm six days a week. In a report to the planning committee a council official said : “The applicant has confirmed that the proposed use is for a genuine massage shop.” And he added that if the property was to be used for “an alternate use that may also be referred to as a massage parlour,” then the council could seek an enforcement order.

The committee voted 9-2 to refuse it after the authority’s economic development team objected to the application. Karen Shaw said: “We have concerns about the loss of A1 (retail) use in this location. A considerable amount of work is in progress to support the viability of the town centre as a shopping centre for visitors and the erosion of A1 use is a threat to the continued attractiveness of the town centre to visitors.

“The area in question is currently developing an attractive food and drink offer which will help the evening economy and which also helps to link the different areas of Leyland together.

“We don’t consider the proposed use would be appropriate for the offer to the retail and eating out offer we are attempting to develop for Leyland.”