Sunbed plan fails to win support

FEARS that schoolchildren could make unlimited use of sunbeds have arisen, if plans for a massive new town centre tanning studio is rubber-stamped.

FEARS that schoolchildren could make unlimited use of sunbeds have arisen, if plans for a massive new town centre tanning studio is rubber-stamped.Civic planners this week failed to back a bid to convert an empty shop in Exeter Road, formerly Belevedere Furnishings, into a walk-in 'automated' solarium - because of health and safety fears.If successful, the plans, by Consul Suncenter, which owns 61 self-service studios in the UK, would see use restricted to over 18s.But Cllr Steve Gazzard said: "I have deep reservations - they say nobody under 18 can use it."But, if it is going to have no staff, who regulates that? If someone does get hurt, who will ring the ambulance or call for help? "East Devon really need to talk to the experts and ensure there are some safeguards in place."Councillor Madeline Chapman said: "I do not like the idea of an 18-year-old girl taking her 14-year-old sister in with her. I can't see how they would stop under 18s from using it. This is not the sort of business we should be encouraging for our young people."Councillor Sandy Sutton likened it to having a 'vending machine selling alcohol' but Councillor Ian Stewart said they were in a difficult situation: "In terms of planning, it is an empty shop."If this puts something into an empty space... commercially it is difficult to object to."As a safeguard, 24-hour CCTV would be fitted - but planning chairman Lynne Elson said that was only effective if monitored all day.Neighbour Mr Falling, who lives above the shop said: "...how (will) security and alarms work after closing at 9pm...there are no staff present."But Sam Kirby, for Consul, said theirs were the only UK solariums to 'fully' comply with European rules regulating use - and they were lobbying the Government to ensure all their competitors met the same standards.She said: "We call it part-supervised; there are regular staff visits throughout the day and we have 24-hour CCTV."In the 11 years we have been operating in this country, we have never had an incident of underage use."The plans will now be considered by


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