Anger over plans for tattoo shop in picturesque town

IT is a picturesque town renowned for its iconic tide mill and scenic walks along the River Deben.

Craig Robinson

IT is a picturesque town renowned for its iconic tide mill and scenic walks along the River Deben.

So when a proposal was handed to Suffolk Coastal District Council for a tattoo parlour in its historic centre some residents of Woodbridge were more than a little concerned.

They feared such an enterprise was not in keeping with the “genteel ambience and old world charm” of the town and that “freshly pierced and tattooed bodies would be a bad influence on impressionable youngsters''.

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But planning bosses have granted permission for a change of use at the Grade II listed premises on Market Hill, just off the main square, close to Angel Lane.

The opening hours would be 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, with no opening on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

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The front of the shop would be a reception and waiting area, with the actual tattooing and piercing taking place at the rear of the premises, screened off from public view.

And applicant Gordon Shepherd, who runs Top Gun Tattooing in Ipswich, is keen to put residents' minds at ease before the business opens, which he hopes will be next month.

“People have been concerned - I think they thought there would be hundreds of Hell's Angels turning up,” he said. “However, many people who have tattoos are now role models - look at David Beckham and Robbie Williams.

“Woodbridge is a lovely town and we want to ensure the business is in keeping with the surrounding area. There will be no neon lights or anything like that - all the shop front will have is our name hand-painted across the top.

“We actually have an awful lot of people from Woodbridge visit us in Ipswich so I think there is a need there. I also think the business will bring a lot of people to the town and be good for the local economy - people waiting will visit the shops or go for something to eat or drink in the pubs.“

Woodbridge Town Council recommended approval of the plans and there were also letters of support wishing the business luck.

The report that was discussed by the district council read: “It is considered unlikely that the proposal would put off existing shoppers or tourists to the area and affect trade of existing shops, given that the site is located on the edge of Market Hill with no retail units to the west of the site, and that any shoppers or tourists accessing the Market Hill shops from the main entrance points to the east (New Street and Church Street) would not pass by the proposal.

“In fact, the proposal could bring in more potential customers to the shops, pubs and caf� in the area, as the parlour clients pass by the premises.”

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