Monday, 25 June 2018

Neighbour complains "sign would light up my bedroom"

PLANS by the Kenton Theatre to have a new illuminated aluminium sign have been criticised by town councillors.

PLANS by the Kenton Theatre to have a new illuminated aluminium sign have been criticised by town councillors.

The burgundy sign would be above the canopy of the New Street theatre and held in place by decorative brackets, also painted burgundy, to match those on the canopy.

The theatre trustees say it is needed to help visitors find the venue and that it would be tasteful.

But at least one neighbour has objected on the grounds of light pollution.

In a letter to South Oxfordshire District Council, Maria Millington said: “I already suffer a lot of light coming into my home at night from the side of the Kenton Theatre.

“This large sign would be right next to my bedroom window and would block light during the day and inflict light at night. I have spoken to the theatre management regarding their current sign, suggesting it could be moved to the centre of their building, between their own two middle windows.

“This would seem a reasonable compromise since there is no reason for the large, illuminated sign to be situated at the end of the premises. Since it is a commercial premises it would make no difference to the theatre if the light shone in their own windows while the building is in use.”

Speaking at a meeting of the town council’s planning committee, chairman Dieter Hinke said the theatre was a Grade II listed building in the town’s conservation area and any alteration should respect its established character.

He said: “If a sign is needed it should generally be non-illuminated and be made of natural materials. Any external lighting that will have an adverse effect on neighbouring residents should be declined.”

Cllr Hinke questioned why a larger sign was needed, adding: “People know where the Kenton is and it is the only theatre in Henley.”

Councillor Laila Meachin said she felt a new sign wasn’t needed but if there was to be one it should be in the middle of the building’s façade, not at one end.

Councillor Martin Akehurst said he recalled that about 25 or 30 years ago the theatre had a sign in the same position, which was made of natural materials and was not illuminated.

“This sign is not made of natural materials and there is going to be a lot of light bleed on to the house next door,” he said. “It should be in the centre and there should also be some restriction on the hours it can be lit.” Councillor Sam Evans said the theatre trustees had shown “sympathetic consideration”.

She said: “I agree about the aluminium but internal illumination is completely different from having a light coming down on to the sign.

“The great thing about these signs is that is you can light it as much or as little as you choose. It is incredibly subtle. This is not a shop — it is like a restaurant where we do allow illuminated signs in the evening. The bracket matches the materials and the canopy and the colours are right for the theatre.”

The committee voted to recommend the application is refused and a final decision will be made by the district council.

Wendy Bowsher, managing director of the theatre, said the trustees would examine councillors’ objections and hoped to be able to find a solution.

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