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Massage parlour plan causes a stir in North Baddesley
IT’S not the usual service you would expect to find in a rural Hampshire village.
But now a Thai massage parlour is being recommended for sleepy North Baddesley near Romsey.
Planners are being advised to approve the salon which offers exotic massage techniques for stressed-out villagers in a former florist shop in Botley Road.
But the scheme has caused a stir in the village and courted controversy among angry neighbours.
Some have written to Test Valley Borough Council objecting to the plan claiming it would attract “undesirables” and pave the way for “dirty book shops and sex shops”.
But the people behind the salon have moved to allay concerns.
Husband and wife William and Wandee Ford said they will simply offer an ancient form of treatment for muscular aches and pains, toning and for pure physical and mental relaxation.
Their representative Mervyn McFarland told the Daily Echo: “Our clients’ proposal is to operate a traditional salon offering medical massage, including deep tissue massage, for the treatment of muscular aches and pains, particularly back, shoulder and neck problems and sports injuries as well as for the treatment of stress and anxiety.”
Mrs Ford has been a medically trained masseuse for the past seven years and is now seeking to set up her own massage salon.
Open until 8.30pm, the salon will employ two fulltime staff and two part-time.
But those objecting fear it is in the wrong place.
Concerned neighbours have written to the borough council fearing that people may get the wrong idea and assume there may be “sexual activity involved”
and that “clients would pose a threat to women and children in the area”.
North Baddesley Parish Council is also opposed.
Parish councillor Ann Tupper said: “I have not heard the other side but at the moment I am concerned.
“My personal view is that I don’t believe it’s a very good reflection on the village, or on the type of village we are, to have such a retail outlet if you can call it that, on such a prominent position.”
However, planning officers said there would be “no adverse impacts on the character and appearance of the area”
and have received six letters from villagers supporting the salon.