A neighbour’s objection to a nail studio in a back garden has ‘brought out the love’ from the Island community, according to St Helens nail technician, Emma Groves.
Emma applied for permission to use a small building in the garden of her home in St Michael’s Road as a nail studio, after Covid restrictions meant she could no longer see clients in her home. Emma’s husband built the studio last year, because Emma was desperate to keep her business going, despite Covid. She says it gives her the flexibility she needs, and would find it difficult to find another job which would allow her to fit in with commitments such as the school run. She sees between 10 and 15 clients a week between 9am and 8pm.
Emma originally believed the tiny building would be allowed under permitted development rights, and would not need formal planning permission. However, when she was told this was incorrect, she submitted a retrospective planning application to cover the business use of the out-building.
One neighbour lodged an objection to the proposal, saying Covid should not be used as an excuse to allow a commercial business in a residential garden. He said the automatic light, which comes on when people are using the path, lights up his back bedroom and he is worried the nail studio may devalue his property and put off potential buyers.
Another objection says it is the wrong location for such a business, adding, “If everybody had a business at home there wouldn’t be any need for High Streets that are already struggling.”
However Emma said she has been overwhelmed by support from neighbours and others. She said: “I am disappointed my neighbour felt the need to object to my application.
“My studio was built whilst I was closed over the first lockdown so that, when government guidelines allowed, I was able to re-open in a Covid secure manner. This protects my clients and my family, which would not have been possible operating from within my home, as I have been for the previous four years.
“The last two months, since I was informed I required planning permission, have been very stressful, not knowing whether or not I would be able to continue operating my business. The overwhelming support from the rest of my neighbours and the wider Island community has completely bowled me over and I would like to thank everyone who has shown their support.”
Another neighbour, who lives ‘a few doors away’, has supported the proposal, saying that small businesses should be supported in these difficult times. Two other people are backing the application with one hoping that ‘common sense’ would prevail.
You can view the application on the Isle of Wight Council’s planning portal under reference 21/00657/FUL, with comments accepted until May 17.