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Massage centre hits back over sex claims

PUBLISHED: 13:21 16 August 2001 | UPDATED: 10:26 03 March 2010

A WOMAN today refuted claims that an Ipswich massage centre was anything other than premises for remedial therapy.

Elaine Davis, 53, partner of the owner, Ronald Smith, 54, said rumours that Cleopatra's in Norwich Road was running an illicit sex trade was "unfair.

A WOMAN today refuted claims that an Ipswich massage centre was anything other than premises for remedial therapy.

Elaine Davis, 53, partner of the owner, Ronald Smith, 54, said rumours that Cleopatra's in Norwich Road was running an illicit sex trade was "unfair."

It comes after Ipswich council approved its continued use as a remedial therapy centre, involving massage and other therapies including Reiki, reflexology and aromatherapy.

Council planning and enforcement staff visited the premises after its application to continued trading as a remedial therapy centre met an objection.

But they didn't spot anything untoward.

Ms Davis said: "It was a total waste of time, money and distress.

"As far as the owners and staff are concerned they can't see the point of an objection on rumours.

"As long as they see the word massage, their minds go overboard. Most people do recognise that it is just rumours. We asked the police to look into the application themselves.

"We just want to get on with our lives and carry on as usual," she said

She admitted that the business has had a few odd phone calls, recently, in the light of publicity, but also had many inquiries from women wanting to find out what they do.

"Our main concern is that people continue to have their therapies," she said. "To think one person caused so much havoc."

On Friday the website offered "Gorgeous girls of all ages and races – be Anthony to their Cleopatra," and adds "Always tell the lady you found her from the Harmless Games Directory."

But since Monday it was dramatically toned down saying: "A warm welcome to you all from Cleopatra's. Is there anything worse than tired or aching muscles? Well you don't need to suffer you know…"

"Our website is harmless," said Elaine. "It is linked to the Yellow Pages. We are a modern massage parlour. It is not like the old days where people wear white overalls.

"Other websites are appalling. We show inside the premises and members of staff. Basically it is a normal website."

She said they have long-standing staff – some who have been with them up to ten years – are qualified and maintain high standards. She added they support several charities.

Cleopatra's has been at the Norwich Road site for six years and before that operated on Tacket Street.

The question of unauthorised use emerged after a member of the public questioned what was going on their last year.

The owners were then invited to submit a planning application to continue to use the building.

One objector to the plan was Peter Marjoram of High Road, Trimley St Mary, who threatened to open a sex shop in Heath Road earlier this year after residents objected to his plans for a pizza takeaway. The use of the premises is to be subject to a hearing on August 21.

After the council meeting he said: "I wish them luck. This leaves me open to have a message parlour at Heath Road. I can have an adult shop at Heath Road/massage parlour."

Weblink:www.cleopatras-ipswich.com

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