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 six metre high illuminated signs for the new Lidl store in Newton Road, 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’ and therefore the proposal is 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 so the council’s enforcement officer served a notice to remove it.
The planning decision and the enforcement notice were appealed against but on December 12 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 the totem stands out and is wholly out of place at ‘an important and attractive entrance to the town and the conservation area.’
He also said it seems to be ‘over-large and dominant.’
Ward member Cllr 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.