Ross-on-Wye is set to welcome a new tattoo parlour, Astral Ink, in the Croft Court shopping centre, taking over the premises previously occupied by Escape to the Great Outdoors. The planning application, submitted by Steph Austin and Loren Hodgson, has sparked a wave of community feedback, with 15 submissions in support and eight objections.

Planning officer Josh Evans, addressing concerns about potential competition, stated, “Many reference the potential for competition within Ross-on-Wye, resulting in an adverse impact upon existing businesses. However, this is not a material planning consideration.” He further added that the tattooists’ proposal would seamlessly blend into the existing high street aesthetic.

The studio’s operational hours have been set between 9am to 5pm on weekdays and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. Steph Austin, who already operates an Astral Ink studio in Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire, expressed her enthusiasm about the new venture and revealed plans to commence refitting the Ross premises in the coming weeks.

Escape to the Great Outdoors had previously cited decreased footfall and in-store sales as reasons for their departure.

The community’s reactions to the new tattoo parlour have been varied:

Clarissa Hill voiced her support, stating it’s “amazing for the town to have a choice of where to go, good for local business.”

Ross-on-Wye Town Council and Julia Wagstaff also expressed their support, seeing it as a positive move for the community.

Neil Ivall and Richard Stan Braund raised concerns about the town’s capacity to sustain another tattoo shop, with Richard mentioning the potential devastating effect on existing businesses.

Alex Knapman and Kim Barnett praised the potential of Astral Ink, highlighting the need for businesses that can thrive and boost the local economy.

Clare Hale and Dorothy Crawley voiced concerns about the town’s identity and the potential strain on parking.

Jasmine Lovell-Davis and Emily Gardner emphasised the potential economic benefits and the talent of the tattoo artists.

Victoria Smith and Jasmine Baldwin praised the owners for their professionalism and potential contribution to the town’s culture.

Jordan Cullen simply stated, “Can’t wait for a new tattoo parlour.”

Lorna Holmes highlighted the potential economic benefits and the professionalism of the tattoo artists.

Several other residents also voiced their opinions, both in support and objection, reflecting the community’s diverse views on the matter.