A HAIRDRESSER who downsized her business from a salon to a garage is facing a battle to survive because of disputed claims over noise.

Friends and customers of Lynda Coates have rallied in support of the Petersfield hairdresser as complaints from a neighbour have left her business teetering on the edge.

Lynda spent £14,000 converting her Buckingham Road garage after the pandemic as she couldn’t afford the £1,500 monthly rent at her previous Chapel Street salon.

She claims planners were happy with the move but they changed their attitude when a neighbour complained.

A retrospective change of use application and following appeal were both rejected, leaving Lynda and her colleagues – who do not claim a wage – facing an uncertain future.

Four objections were submitted online, with noise and vehicle movements being the most common complaints.

One even calls the salon a “massive and unwanted intrusion into our peaceful living” with claims of constant shouting, laughing and hairdryers disturbing the peace.

Planning inspector Lewis Conde also feels the business has the potential to generate “significant levels of noise” and is not convinced there is an enforceable solution.

Lynda accepts her Coates Hair Retreat salon produces noise but she and her supporters feel the claims have been exaggerated by “nimby” neighbours. They also deny the noise is excessive, especially when there’s a busy Aldi around the corner and her house backs on to Travis Perkins.

Lynda Coates Pic2
Lynda Coates in her home salon (Lynda Coates)

Lynda (pictured above) is considering forking out £1,500 for a noise assessment but feels she’s being “picked on”. 

She said: “There were claims I was getting 14 clients a day – I’m not even sure the town centre salons get that many.

“We’re not hurting anyone here as the garage I’m using has been here since 1997 and never had a car in it.

“I’ve had people saying they will stand outside and demonstrate for us. I’ve cried more over the support we’ve had than the problems we’re having with planning.”

A lot of Lynda’s customers have been regulars since the 1980s while her cutting crew has been together for nearly two decades. Around 80 people have signed a petition in her support while some have written to the Post in dismay that less than a handful of complaints could cost Lynda her livelihood.

One said: “It seems because of this complaint the planners have denied her permission to continue working from there.

“Pensioners who rely on Lynda to do their hair are devastated by this. She is a wonderful person and does not deserve to be treated like this.”

East Hampshire District Council have offered Linda an olive branch with a meeting being arranged. A spokesman said: “The planning application was refused and subsequently dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate. 

“We are aware there is local support for her, but the Planning Inspector concluded it was an inappropriate business use for the location. 

“Nevertheless, we and Mrs Coates have arranged to meet to see if there is a way forward that may be acceptable.”