Plans for hair salon and woodturning studio in back garden of South Shields home thrown out by inspector

A council ruling blocking proposals for a hairdressing business in the rear garden of a South Shields home has been upheld by a Government planning inspector.

Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 12:58 pm

It was proposed that the detached building would have a mixed use including a “woodturning hobby and storage room” and “commercial hairdressing area.”

While no neighbour objections were lodged, South Tyneside Council’s planning department refused the application in January 2021.

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The plans for the salon were originally rejected by the council, and have now been thrown out on appeal.

The main issues included the scale of the building and its location within a residential area – with planners arguing the development would lead to increased noise and disturbance – and the principle of establishing a business use in a back garden.

They added the hairdressing business would have an “unacceptable impact” on parking in the area due to the expected increase in vehicles attending appointments.

Following the council decision, the applicant lodged an appeal with the Secretary of State with a planning inspector appointed to assess the council ruling.

In a decision notice published in July 2021, planning inspector F Wilkinson dismissed the appeal and upheld the council’s refusal notice.

Although the inspector said the plans were acceptable in relation to highway capacity and safety, concerns were raised about residential amenity and other matters.

The inspector said the expected vehicle movements, client “comings and goings” and associated noise would be noticeable at the property, but would not have a “significantly harmful effect on the living conditions” of neighbours.

Despite this, the inspector added: “I cannot be certain that a further intensification of the hairdressing business at the appeal property would not give rise to significantly harmful effects on the living conditions of occupiers of neighbouring properties.”

As a result, the inspector said the plans clashed with policies related to impacts on residential amenity.

In the original council planning decision, planners also questioned the principle of setting up a hair salon in a residential area, as opposed to a town centre unit.

They said that preferable sites were available elsewhere and that the home salon, if approved, could divert trade away from existing shopping centres.

In the planning inspector’s report, it was noted that no sequential test had been undertaken by the appellant – an assessment which demonstrates that other available town centre sites had been considered.

The report reads: “The appellant states that hairdressing has been recognised by the government as a specific care sector meaning that it is no longer grouped with retail and should no longer be part of the retail core strategy policy or classed with retailing opportunities.

“However, town centre uses are not exclusively retailing. Hairdressers are a main town centre use and as such the sequential test does apply. No sequential test has been undertaken by the appellant.”

The report goes on to say: “From the evidence before me and my own observations, there are a number of vacant units in both South Shields town centre and the Westoe Crown local neighbourhood shopping centre that could potentially accommodate the proposed hairdressing business.

“I have no substantive evidence before me to clearly demonstrate that these vacant units would not be suitable or available for the proposed hairdressing business

“It would therefore fail to meet the sequential test in local and national policy as there are sequentially preferable locations available.

“As such, I cannot be certain that the proposed hairdressing business would not significantly harm the vitality and viability of South Shields town centre or the Westoe Crown local neighbourhood shopping centre.”

The full appeal decision report can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website under appeal reference number: APP/A4520/W/21/3272435

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