Emmanuelle's likens itself to dog grooming parlour

A TOWN centre massage den should be allowed to stay open because it is similar to the gog grooming parlour it replaced

A TOWN centre massage den should be allowed to stay open because it is similar to the gog grooming parlour it replaced, according to its owners.A Government inspector conducted a public hearing in Weston last week to decide whether the controversial business can stay open.At the hearing into Emmanuelle's in Baker Street the inspector said he was told by the owners that planning permission should be granted because it was 'similar to the dog grooming parlour that was previously there'.He also heard from residents at the meeting who said they had been repeatedly intimidated by clients of the parlour and its owners.Owner Kaye Laker, aged 29, did not turn up at the hearing at the Blakehay in Wadham Street, but had contacted the inspector to say the opening hours did not affect the neighbourhood, and they only had around seven clients a day.A North Somerset Council senior planning officer, Andrew Stevenson, said: "That is an imaginative way of looking at it. A dog grooming parlour would not be open until the early hours or create night-time activity. The level of antisocial behaviour is not going to be the same either and reports made to the police have all been made in the early hours. "Ms Laker was also arrested and cautioned for criminal damage to the front door of a neighbour's property. "I understand there have also been unreported incidents such as vandalism, harassment, urinating in the street and constant noise from clients."It is also clear there are many more than seven clients visiting in a day."Intimidation is a large factor in refusing the application. Fear of reprisals may have played a part in people not objecting more."Over 14-15 months there has been a catalogue of problems on the site or from people visiting it."A resident said: "When it was a dog parlour we were not tripping over beer bottles, kebab containers and vomit in the street."You are not going to get people shouting 'that wasn't f****** worth £45' at a dog grooming parlour."One resident said they have been forced to sleep at the back of their house because of noise in the early hours."We are woken up every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night by noise."Sometimes you can smell drugs when you walk past the parlour windows."Residents at the hearing also said they are often stopped by men in the street and being asked what time the massage parlour opens. Some have even been propositioned. Town councillor and chairman of the local residents' association, Geoff Bunn, disputed the claim by Ms Laker that only seven clients a day visit the parlour.He said: "It is a farce to say seven. There has been that many in a couple of hours."He also said the nearby dance studio had had men attempt to enter it believing it to be Emmanuelle's.In summing up, a council spokesman said: "The arguments put forward by Emmanuelle's are misleading and contrary to those of the council and the residents."The premises cause unaccountable harm to the residents of the area."The owners have not made any attempt to contact us or the inspectorate as to why they could not attend. I can only think it is to cause further delay and continued use for as long as possible."The hearing on Wednesday will be followed by a site visit by the inspector before he makes a final decision on the parlour's fate.

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