Tanning salon in historic market town ordered to remove ‘offensive’ window sign

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A tanning salon in a historic market town has been ordered to remove an “offensive” window display of a sunbathing woman following complaints by two local residents.

Malibu Tanning Lounge in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, was asked by the council to take away the image which features a model in a bikini on a beach.

The salon’s owner, Jim Cole, paid £700 to have the large poster plastered across the window last month in a bid to provide privacy to customers inside.

However, officials from Harborough District Council visited the salon to say there had been complaints over the window display, which also required planning permission.

The council has now refused a retrospective application on the grounds the image adversely affects the character and appearance of the town.

Mr Cole says he will have to spend several thousands of pounds redesigning the interior of his shop if an appeal against the ruling is unsuccessful.

The 29-year-old, who opened the business in October last year, said: “We just can’t believe it, we think it’s ridiculous.”

He said the image aims to protect the privacy of customers as tanning beds are located by the window.

He explained: “We were noticing builders and other people gawping at the girls inside which we didn’t think was right so it protected them from unwanted attention.

“The till and computers are there as well so it also provided security. We didn’t envisage any problems because it is clearly not an explicit image.

“It’s just a happy woman relaxing on a beach and I found it hard to believe anyone would find it offensive.

“We were shocked because nobody had told us they had a problem before then – if anything people really liked it.”

A representative from the council said the image had been deemed offensive by two people in the town, the salon owner claimed.