Plans to turn former Post Office into tanning salon to go before councillors

The former post office in Boutport Street. Picture: Andy Keeble

The former post office in Boutport Street. Picture: Andy Keeble - Credit: Archant

Plans to turn Barnstaple’s former town centre Post Office into a tanning studio are set to go before a planning committee.

Consol Southwest hopes to turn the ground floor of the empty property in Boutport Street into a salon with 14 tanning booths.

If approved, the Consol studio would be open from 7am until 10pm every day, employing one full time and one part time member of staff.

The application, which is recommended for approval, will go before North Devon Council’s planning committee, which will meet virtually on Wednesday, June 10.

It was called in by Councillor Robbie Mack, whose objection came after two local tanning salon owners warned the new studio would put them both out of business.

Cllr Mack said: “While I would like to see this building brought back into use, I do not believe this is the right use.

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“It is highly likely this new salon would see the closure of two local businesses. This would have a net negative impact on the viability of Barnstaple Town Centre as two more empty shopfronts are created.

“The two existing salons hire six staff between them and provide space for two self employed professionals. If the new salon led to the closure of the local salons, it could lead to the loss of over six jobs.”

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A report for the application recommends approval for Consol’s application to change the use of the building, saying it is not for the planning framework to decide if a further unit would have an adverse impact on another business.

It said: “A number of letters of objection have been submitted, they predominantly express regarding the impact this proposal would have on existing tanning salons within Barnstaple.

“Whilst there may be local concerns, the market will determine the future success or not of this tanning salon and it is not for the planning system to consider the argument that Barnstaple has a number of tanning salons and a further unit could have an adverse impact on existing businesses..

The report concluded: “Planning should not stifle new business and competition on high streets.

“The local plan is clear that alternative town centre uses should be supported, and that the town centre should foster an efficient, competitive and innovative sector.”

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