Unpopular Lewes digital advertising billboard refused

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Unpopular plans for a new digital advertising billboard in Lewes have been rejected.

An application to upgrade the existing sign to a digital display, which is currently attached to a two-storey semi-detached home in Malling Street next to the BP petrol station has attracted 145 letters of objection.

They argued it would negatively affect the character of the area, would not be in keeping with nearby listed buildings, would pose a distraction to drivers, contravened the dark skies policy and would increase both carbon emissions and light pollution.

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South Downs National Park Authority planning officers have agreed and refused the plans, as it has a policy of presumption against internally illuminated advertisements. Its local plan also states that wherever possible new development will be required to avoid light pollution.

The existing view and the proposed viewThe existing view and the proposed view
The existing view and the proposed view

Global, the company behind the plans, had argued that the proposed digital sign was of an appropriate size and scale for this location and overlooked a site with other commercial signage.

Adrian Ross and Zoe Nicholson, Green district councillors for Lewes Bridge, described in their objections how the proposed digital sign would not be in-keeping with the character of a market town in the South Downs National Park, would be visually obtrusive and went against policies relating to advertisements, tranquillity, safeguarding views, historic environment and sustainability.

Wendy Maples, Green county councillor for Lewes, raised many of the same points, adding: “All of the houses on the other side of the road are listed and cannot even change the colour of their doors without permission. An illuminated advertising hoarding directly opposite would significantly spoil the character and enjoyment of this historic location and therefore must be refused.”

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Lewes Town Council, Friends of Lewes and the Lewes Conservation Area Advisory Group all objected.

One long-time Malling Street resident wrote in their objection: “This is a residential area where we already have to put up with a very busy road and allowing

this change of signage would further lower the quality of life of the residents.

“The site is visible from about a mile away at the far end of Malling Coombe (on the Malling Down nature reserve), somewhere I spend time every day. It would detract from the beauty of this piece of countryside that I have known and used for over 60 years.”