Notice board to stay after Government inspector steps in
17:30 01 July 2014
A piece of Sidmouth street furniture once branded a danger will be hanging around after orders to remove it were overturned by a Government inspector.
Pure Indulgence owner Mr Steven Kendall-Torry sparked controversy when he installed a notice board on the Old Fore Street wall of his shop.
His application for retrospective planning permission was refused by East Devon District Council bosses – against officers’ advice – but he took it to appeal and the matter went all the way to the Planning Inspectorate.
Mr Kendall-Torry said: “It’s another example of bad EDDC decisions and an unnecessary waste of public money, all over a little notice board and what should have been a planning formality.
“They went against their own officers’ advice and the inspector has ruled against them.
“Amazingly, at the same meeting, and against their officers’ advice once again, they approved a building in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“At least they are consistent at being inconsistent.”
The notice board, regularly full of advertisements for community events and information from campaign group the East Devon Alliance, has been in place for months.
Sidmouth town councillors opposed the ‘unsightly and unsuitable’ sign, saying pedestrians could be threatened as it is on a public highway.
The application had been recommended for approval by planning officers, who said the impact on safety would be minimal.
In making his decision, planning inspector Jonathon Parsons noted: “Its design and position adds visual interest and breaks up the monotony of an otherwise blank ground-floor wall.
“It does add a new feature to this wall, but it does not create a cluttered appearance because no comparable alterations have been made to it.”
An East Devon District Council spokesman said: “The decision to refuse the application was taken by members after discussion and due consideration of the officers’ report, which recommended approval.
“Decisions are taken on planning grounds and, where appropriate, are defended at appeal.”
He added that the cost of the applicant taking the decision to the planning inspectorate was in covering the officers’ time, but dealing with applications from initial contact to appeal decision is part of their everyday job.