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Light-up billboard rejected after fears it would shine into flats

PUBLISHED: 11:52 11 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:52 11 March 2020

Clear Channel's current advertising panel along South Quay. The refused planning application wanted to turn it into an illuminated, digital advertising billboard. PHOTO: Google Streetview

Clear Channel's current advertising panel along South Quay. The refused planning application wanted to turn it into an illuminated, digital advertising billboard. PHOTO: Google Streetview

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Plans to install an illuminated advertising board have been rejected by government inspectors after it was feared it would shine through homeowners windows and distract drivers.

There are other adverts along South Quay, but these are static panels which do not cause visual disturbances. PHOTO: Google StreetviewThere are other adverts along South Quay, but these are static panels which do not cause visual disturbances. PHOTO: Google Streetview

In October 2019, Great Yarmouth Borough Council denied consent for Clear Channel UK - a London advertising agency - to alter a static advertisement panel along South Quay into a digital version, capable of changing every ten seconds and providing 'constant illumination' during the hours of darkness.

The sign, which would sit against the fencing of the EMR Great Yarmouth scrap yard, was rejected by the council on the grounds that it could 'have a significantly adverse impact upon the character of the area' by creating a 'visual disturbance' to residents and businesses.

According to the council: 'While it is noted that travelling from the south the sign would have a limited impact, it would be highly visible when travelling from the north.

'And while the area is predominantly non-residential, there are flats immediately opposite where the advert is sited, the light of which could be noticeable to residents at night, and particularly during the winter months.'

The apartment block opposite the 48 sheet panel, which the Planning Inspectorate considered would be adversely affected by the proposals. PHOTO: Google StreetviewThe apartment block opposite the 48 sheet panel, which the Planning Inspectorate considered would be adversely affected by the proposals. PHOTO: Google Streetview

Clear Channel UK then appealed the decision, suggesting that 'the proposal has not been properly considered on its own merits', and that an advert had already been 'in situ' for ten years previously.

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But the Planning Inspectorate recommended the appeal be dismissed in its entirety at the beginning of this month, the reason being that the sign 'would have a prominent position at a perpendicular angle to the highway, so that it is highly visible to those travelling along South Quay'.

Acknowledging the 'advertising character' of the area, the inspectorate said: 'There are several further panels of a 48 sheet scale in the vicinity, but these are not overly detrimental to the street scene.

'There is also minimal evidence to suggest that local finance considerations could help to make the development acceptable in planning terms.

'While Clear Channel suggests that the sign could be used for non-commercial purposes or to display emergency messages, no mechanism to secure such use has been included in the proposal.

'I therefore conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.'


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