‘It doesn’t matter what we do or say’

East Devon tattooist can’t stay on business park - not even in different premises.

“Our future is disintegrating.” That is what the owner of an East Devon business says after efforts to find a new home for his tattoo studio were thwarted by council officials.

Neil Murphy, who has run Mavericks from a portable building at East Devon Business Park, Offwell, for four years, has been given until January next year to find alternative premises.

East Devon District Council says the tattoo studio is not suitable for an industrial estate in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“It is a town or nothing,” Mr Murphy told the Midweek Herald.

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After being told to relocate, he found a brick-built building on the same estate and secured the finance to move.

However, the council has told him the move will not win approval.

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“I’ve got students from Southampton and need the space that premises in a town cannot provide,” said Mr Murphy.

“It doesn’t seem to matter what we do or say.

“We’ve gone through the regulations for tattoists and there is nothing that says we have to be in a brick-built structure or a town. We meet all the requirements.”

Offwell Parish Council has raised no objections to Mavericks being based on the business park and Honiton MP Neil Parish has written a letter in support of Mr Murphy to the district council’s planning department.

A spokesman for East Devon District Council said: “The fundamental problem with a business of this nature being run from this location – whether in a mobile home or a brick building – is that in planning terms it is considered inappropriate for the area in which it is sited – a high street location being more accessible and, therefore, more suitable.

“An officer has explained this to Mr Murphy.

“If he wishes to pursue the notion of running the business from the brick building on the same estate, he will come up against the same problem.

“If he wishes to seek a formal set of advice, he will need to pay the standard charge.

“This is his prorogative and we can only advise him of the background against which he should make his decision whether to proceed or not.”

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