Battle of the screens in Preston as city tries to control spread of roadside advert boards

Council chiefs are facing more screen tests over their clampdown on digital roadside advertising boards in Preston.

By Brian Ellis
Monday, 16th May 2022, 4:55 am

The authority is being taken to two more tribunals after refusing planning permission for giant screens in the city.

So far the recent score is 2-1 to the council with victories in Strand Road and London Road being notched up and a second London Road appeal being allowed by a Government inspector.

But more appeals have now been lodged following the refusal of two screens within yards of each other off busy Ringway.

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The patch of grass next to Gateway House where a giant screen is planned, with the Clayton Recruitment building (right).

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Alight Media is challenging the council's decision to block plans for an illuminated 48-sheet digital screen next to Gateway House at the junction of Ringway with Market Street West.

And local company Clayton Recruitment has announced it too will appeal a decision not to allow a screen on the side of its building barely 30 yards away in Market Street West - a plan it failed with at appeal five years ago.

The cases highlight a growing issue for the city council fighting to control the spread of advertising boards.

The one in London Road that the city council has lost on appeal.

Less than two years ago the authority won an important battle against an invasion of futuristic phone boxes incorporating digital ad screens on major shopping streets.

The "Trojan Horse" kiosks were suspected of purely being a vehicle for planting lucrative advertising in prime locations and were kicked out by planning inspectors.

Now a wave of giant screen applications is occupying the time of planning officers as companies try to bring brightly-lit advertising displays to prominent locations at the side of busy main roads.

The proposed screen next to Gateway House would be 6mx3m and stand 2.7m off the ground.

The neighbouring application is for a screen measuring 3.2mx2m which would be attached to Clayton Recruitment's building around 7m above street level.

It is an almost identical application by the same company to one which was turned down in 2017 and eventually dismissed at appeal because it was seen as having a "significant detrimental impact" on the area.

Both the recent applications which are now going to appeal have been refused by council planning chiefs for exactly the same reasons.

Despite the prominence and brightness of such advertising screens, none of the applications submitted have been opposed as potentially distracting for drivers and therefore dangerous.