Thursday, 19 July 2018

Pub landlord ordered to take down roadside advert boards

A PUB landlord has been forced to take down large posters advertising events because they are

A PUB landlord has been forced to take down large posters advertising events because they are in breach of planning laws.

Nick Willson has hung the signs on the fence by the road outside the Flowing Spring, on the A4155 Henley Road at Playhatch since he and his wife Hazel Lucas took over the business more than five years ago.

Now he has been told to remove them by South Oxfordshire District Council, which sent an enforcement officer to the Fuller’s pub last week following a complaint made last year.

Mr Willson said not having the posters would reduce passing trade.

He said: “People going past would see the signs, think they were interesting and give the pub a try. It’s part of our strategy to put on events and this was a way to promote them — now it’s gone.

“While we have other channels, nothing is as powerful to passing traffic but there’s nothing we can do about it.”

In July, a complaint was made about the A1-sized posters, saying they were “unauthorised” and encroaching on the highway.

The district council investigated and an officer visited the site before the couple were told in August that the complaint had no grounds.

Now the council has had a rethink.

Mr Willson said: “A planning officer came round and said we had to take the signs down. It was all to do with advertising. There are strict laws on how you can externally advertise your business and posters are a big no-no.

“I think every retailer has breached this because they all want to sing and shout about what they do.”

Mr Willson said he did not blame the council but added: “The fact they have not been sure of the grounds they needed to order the posters down is a bit frustrating.

“We like to promote what events, food and good things we have here, which harms nobody. Now we have lost one of our marketing channels and a very powerful one.

“We use social media and our mailing list of 1,300 people but people would notice the signs when they were going past.”

When the pub’s car park flooded in January 2014 the couple put humorous messages on the posters, including “come and visit our aqua park” and “free moorings available”.

The pub lost business because the car park was under several feet of floodwater from before Christmas until late February. It was the second year running that the couple had suffered flooding.

A council spokesman said: “The business owner was never formally notified in writing that the signs were okay.   We spent some time consulting with highways officers at the county council to see if there was a compromise that could be found.

“Since then we have visited the property again and explained that the signs in their current form would have to come down as they are a distraction to motorists and don’t have consent.”

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