A planning inspector has agreed with councillors and officers that an illuminated totem sign outside a Rushden store must be removed as it is not in keeping with the visual amenity of the area.
Councillors and officers first raised concerns after receiving a planning application for two free standing 6 metre high illuminated signs for the new Lidl store in Rushden.
The application was refused on the grounds that “the proposed advertisement would adversely affect the character and visual amenity of the area, including views into/out of the Conservation Area. The proposal is therefore contrary to national and local planning policies.”
Unfortunately, one totem sign was put up between the committee making its decision and the decision notice being issued shortly after and so the council’s enforcement officer served a notice to remove it. The planning decision and the enforcement notice were appealed against but on 12 December, 2016 an inspector dismissed both appeals and agreed with East Northamptonshire Council that “the sign does harm the setting of the conservation area and the character and appearance of the surrounding area”. He also said that at “an important and attractive entrance to the town and the conservation area… the totem stands out and… looks incongruous and wholly out of place. It also seems to be over-large and dominant.”
Ward member, Councillor Barbara Jenney said: “We’re really pleased that the planning inspector agrees that this sign is at odds with the area and agree that from certain angles, it dominates and is out of place.
“Planning officers and councillors have worked hard to show how the sign harms the setting of the Rushden conservation area and the character and appearance of the area.”
Planning officers are now in communication with Lidl to agree a date for removal of the sign.