Beauty is in the eye of the….landlord?

As a fairly traditional male, I’ve been having my hair cut by the same barber for many years now. He’s a traditional old fashioned gent’s hairdresser that does what’s required to my thinning locks!

Just up the road however is Turkish barber who has built a strong client base with his sharp cuts of hair and beards while also burning out your ear hair with a flaming wick!

The number of enquiries I’ve received in the last couple of years, and continue to receive, for premises to be used as barber shops is quite remarkable! Just how they all make a living, when there are so many around, I don’t know?

For us males, our regular visit to the barber is about as much “beauty” treatment as we desire. For the ladies however, not only do they like their regular visit to their favoured hairdresser; there are their nails, eyebrows, eye lashes, facials to be catered for as well!

The demand I’m now receiving for retail premises for beauty related uses is incredible. At present, I have lettings agreed in 4 different Wiltshire towns for such uses.  A salon for hair and nails in Devizes; salon for aesthetic treatments in Calne; and general beauty salons in both Melksham and Chippenham.

The majority of these tenants are sole traders, but most are already working either within another salon or from home, so have a solid existing customer base. They may not offer the strong financial covenant that some Landlords ideally desire, but in the current market when retail shops are hard to fill, they are a tenant. Many will actually spend quite a lot of money on their fit out so will want time in the property to get their money back on the expenditure. These occupiers can therefore be very good tenants.

A frustration experienced by both Landlords and this nature of tenant however is planning use. Hairdressers are Use Class A1; the aesthetic clinic use, the Planning authority deemed as Use Class D1; while general beauty salons and nail bars are classed as Sui Generis. The cost and time delay in getting consent means additional expense for the new business before getting open and trading and a delay for the Landlord in getting their rental income. It’s therefore not a surprise that some of these occupiers are just opening and taking the risk on planning and will lodge a retrospective application if any objection should be raised.

A simpler attitude to the Use Class for these uses would make life a lot easier for the occupiers and ease the pressure on our overloaded planning departments!

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