A FARMER has lost an appeal to display banners on Green Belt land advertising his shop to motorists along a main road – a ruling he believes will hit his business hard.
Roger Webster had put up three banners on 5m high poles on his land off Hall Lane, Lathom, to advertise his business – Taylors Farm Shop.
But he was told he needed planning permission to carry on displaying the signs, and submitted an application to the council, which was rejected in April.
The council refused permission on the grounds that the banners’ “excessive number, height and design, together with other signage at the site, results in a negative impact upon the visual appearance of this part of the Green Belt”.
Mr Webster appealed the decision to the planning inspectorate, claiming all businesses should have the right to advertise. He also said that without them it would impact on the success of the shop.
And Mr Webster argued that there was an apparent double standard, citing how a nearby petrol station on Briars Lane had been given permission to display illuminated adverts.
But planning inspector Richard Clegg dismissed the appeal, finding that the benefit of the signs to the farm shop carried “only limited weight”, and other matters did not outweigh the serious harm caused by the banner signs to the character and appearance of the area.
But following the decision, Mr Webster said: “I just think it’s a bit of a joke.
“There have been complaints about the garage too, but the council have decided their signs are okay.
“And yet they say ours are impacting the environment.
“I asked them to cast their minds back to the older building that used to be there – we have opened it up and improved visibility.
“We saw it as three signs that were advertising a business.
“The decision suggests there’s little benefit in these signs to us but I believe there is. It makes passing trade, people who haven’t been to us before, aware that the farm shop is there.
“At the end of the day, do the council want successful businesses or not? I don’t think they are being sensible.
“You could argue the signs were a bit too tall but I would have agreed to lower them.
Even the council admitted there was no danger to the public highway. It’s very frustrating.
“I have been advised all the way along that there was no problem from planning consultants. I’m very disappointed with the planning inspector’s decision, we feel we’ve had very little support.”