Future of nail bar in doubt after 'toxic fumes' complaints

·3-min read
Hampton Nails and Beauty, Station Road, Hampton, Richmond. Credit: LDRS
Hampton Nails and Beauty, Station Road, Hampton, Richmond. Credit: LDRS

THE future of a nail bar in Richmond is hanging in the balance following claims from residents about alleged “toxic fumes” wafting from the premises.

Richmond Council’s licensing sub-committee is deciding whether to allow Hampton Nails and Beauty to renew its licence after a dad living above the business claimed coming home from work was like “walking into a nail bar”.

Licensing manager Caroline Sharkey told the committee on Monday morning (June 27) that numerous complaints had been made by locals claiming they are “being affected by toxic fumes emanating from the premises” when customers get nail extensions. She said “adequate ventilation” had not been provided during nail extensions and that licence conditions had been “persistently” breached.

Resident Max Byng said he and his partner had made “numerous complaints” over the last year and claimed “between 10 to 20 times we have gone down to the nail bar to ask them to do something about the smell”. He said the situation had improved in the past couple of months. Hai Nguyen, speaking on behalf of the nail bar, said the business did have the required ventilation systems, had been adhering to the licence conditions and had offered to rectify “any issue”.

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But Mr Byng said: “Over the last 13 months the ventilation has very rarely been on and very sporadic when it has been on. The last two or three months have been improved obviously, but you’ll understand that me and my partner have been living in this situation for the best part of a year whereby we would go to work, work a very long day, come back home, pick up our son from nursery, walk into our kitchen and walk into what felt like walking into a nail bar because of the fumes that had ingressed into the property throughout the day.”

Mr Nguyen said the nail shop did not receive any complaints for some time after opening in 2019, and that it is busiest in summer. He said: “In the summer, when we have our nail shop, we open our front door to get the air in and also the back door in the summer so that will let the air just move in and also the extractor fan is on as well.” He added that if the shop isn’t allowed to provide nail extensions “we have no income for the staff there”. He later said the extractor fan is now turned on 24/7.

A council investigation into residents’ complaints in 2021 found the nail bar was providing nail extensions not covered by its licence, according to the report. A council officer visited a nearby resident’s home in May 2021 and “witnessed chemical odours” while a visit to the nail bar found a wall extractor fan was not switched on during “unlicenced treatments”.

Two unannounced visits were carried out in January and March this year after further complaints which showed the premises had “failed to comply with the conditions of the licence”, according to the report.

The premises’ special treatments licence expired in February this year but the business will remain licensed under the existing terms until the application for renewal is decided. The licence covers the provision of treatments such as manicures, pedicures and nail extensions. Richmond Council’s licensing sub-committee will make a decision in the coming days.

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