Community opposed to ‘massage parlour’ plans

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RESIDENTS have raised concerns about plans to open a massage and spa centre in a Sheffield suburb.

Businessman Lee Homar will go to the Town Hall today to request planning permission to convert a former furniture shop on Langsett Road, Walkley.

Neighbours have urged councillors to block the scheme, worried about Mr Homar’s plans to open until 11pm every night of the week.

Ten residents have written to the council, complaining about safety, parking problems, increased traffic and noise.

One neighbour said: “The proposed opening hours of this property are not consistent with those of a health or beauty establishment, suggesting this business may be offering additional services.

“It is questionable what clientele will be visiting such a facility at such late times in the evening.”

Another neighbour said: “This type of business will encourage anti-social behaviour, especially at night, and I believe my sense of personal safety will be jeopardised. I have noted the hours of business.”

Portia Wilkins, co-ordinator at St Bart’s Church Centre, said if the plans were for a legitimate spa facility it would be “a positive and affirming provision for the community” - but added: “As a woman I am always concerned if I am exposed to the sex industry in any form. Hopefully this is not the case for this application.”

Walkley councillor Ben Curran said: “Many of my constituents are concerned the venue could actually be a massage parlour, which would be undesirable.”

Mr Homar, of Industry Street, Walkley, said in his application: “There will be no change to the exterior design. There will be cosmetic changes to the interior and the interior will have three spa baths installed.”

And David Harrison, who runs the Star garage next door, said: “I would welcome the passing trade brought by the customers.

“The later opening hours of such a business would provide extra security for adjoining properties.”

Council officers have advised councillors there is little scope to refuse the plans on ‘moral’ grounds, and advised they grant planning permission - limited to 8pm closing.

In a report to councillors, they said: “While the concerns of local residents are fully understood, objections to such uses on moral grounds are deemed within planning case law not to be relevant to planning.”