A WOMAN who set up a salon in her garage six years ago has been ordered to apply for permission after an investigation – that she says only came about after she criticised a councillor online.
Council officers launched an investigation into the hairdressing business in Helena Hatton’s garage last year after receiving an anonymous complaint.
They referred her to Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee, as she had not applied for permission to turn the garage, in Suffolk Drive, Whiteley, into residential use, or applied to turn it into a business.
Ms Hatton spoke at the meeting and apologised for not applying for permission –although she questioned why it had been brought up now after six years shortly after she criticised a councillor publicly on social media.
She said: ‘I provide hairdressing which is not a full-time or a major business, having just one seat, one mirror and basin.
‘I don’t advertise outside and there no indication that I provide a service inside.’
She added: ‘I find it difficult to understand why I have been challenged in this way when there has never been a complaint made in the prior six years.’
She claimed that a councillor, who she did not name, had stopped outside her house in his car just before the complaint was made.
Officers then visited her house unexpectedly and told her to apply for permission, which costs about £400.
She could not afford to meet the December 7 deadline, so the case came to the planning committee.
On the committee, Cllr Peter Davies said: ‘There seems to be a whole nest of things here.’
He said there was a series of things that had gone against normal planning policy and that he wanted to see Ms Hatton put in a fresh application which they could ‘consider on its merits’.
He added: ‘There has been a catalogue of things that have gone wrong over the last six years.’
Cllr Roger Price said he would like to see the matter deferred to allow her 21 days to put an application in, and councillors unanimously agreed.
Ms Hatton said: ‘It does not sit right with me, but I will do the right thing and apply.’