A TANNING salon has been likened to Blackpool illuminations, with town leaders branding its shop front “gaudy.”
The outside decorations and lights of Tanning Salon, in Causeway, Bicester, as well as noise levels, have been criticised by Bicester Town Council.
Mayor Lynn Pratt said: “I don’t like to say this because I’m from the North, but it looks like Blackpool seafront.
“It looks totally out of place with the conservation area.”
Fellow town councillor Rose Stratford said: “The music is so loud.”
But Sarah Gallagher, who manages the tropical paradise-themed shop, said: “I think it’s nice, it’s vibrant.
“It is nothing like Blackpool. Have they even been there?
“We have had no complaints from customers. One of them told me ‘It is like being on holiday for nine minutes’.
“I don’t think the music is loud, it is playing at a reasonable level.”
The salon came before the town council’s planning committee on Monday after owner Scott Pratley retrospectively submitted a change of use application.
The space was formerly used by Blockbusters and had been standing empty until the salon opened 12 weeks ago.
Mr Pratley, who has 13 years’ experience owning sunbed salons, explained why he was submitting the application after having opened already.
He said: “I was so swept up in signing the contract, and you start paying rates straight away, I just wanted to get it all done.
“I guess I just didn’t get round to it.”
He added: “The music is not loud or blaring, if it was it would deafen the customers because the speakers are above them.
“You can talk very easily inside the shop.
“The signage is 150 per cent right, it is in a conservation area and I have had to alter the lighting for my shop in Banbury to make it right.
“So I know that this one is.”
The seafront at Blackpool
He said that since opening three months ago more than 1,000 people had signed up to the shop’s membership scheme.
“We haven’t had a single complaint,” said the 42-year-old Bloxham resident.
The application will be decided by Cherwell District Council but a date for it to come before councillors has not yet been set.
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