Worthing A-board refusal ‘cost us sales’, Virgin claims

A TELECOMMUNICATIONS giant has appealed after a council refused consent for an advertising board despite most of its neighbours having one.

A-boards in Montague Street, pictured last year
A-boards in Montague Street, pictured last year

Worthing Borough Council officers ruled Virgin Media’s proposed A-board would be ‘intrusive’ to the street scene.

The decision has ‘greatly disheartened’ the firm, which is one of few businesses not currently using A-boards on the busy shopping precinct.

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Documents submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, stated: “Virgin Media were greatly disheartened by the Council’s decision to refuse the proposed A-board sign, and wish to make formal representation to the Planning Inspectorate to review the decision and support Virgin Media’s view that the decision is both unreasonable and inconsistent with other retail signage approvals given within the same conservation area.”

The firm claim there is ‘no doubt’ sales opportunities have been missed, while customers have ‘consistently’ struggled to locate the store.

Complaints over a proliferation of the boards has prompted an imminent consultation in view of restricting their use.

Montague Street is defined as an ‘adoptive highway’, meaning anything placed on them must not create an obstruction.

While the borough council is the planning authority, enforcement is the responsibility of West Sussex County Council.

A ‘tolerant’ approach has been taken in recent months but a consultation could lead to licensing of the boards and stricter regulation.

A borough council spokesman said: “The A-board was refused as it was felt that, due to its size and design, it would be intrusive to the street scene and add to the incoherent clutter of existing signage at that end of the street, which is classed as a Conservation Area.

“In recent times, a tolerant approach has been adopted, balancing the needs of the businesses to advertise themselves, the visual appearance of a street and the ability of individuals – some of whom may have limited mobility – to move around.”

A decision over the appeal has yet to be published by the inspectorate.