Fresh screen test for Preston’s policy on huge digital advert boards in city centre

Preston's policy governing brightly-lit digital advertising boards on busy main roads is to be challenged again before planning inspectors for the fourth time in a year.

By Brian Ellis
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 3:45 pm

An application for an illuminated 48-page LED display measuring 6mx3m on a patch of grass alongside Ringway, is to go to appeal after it was turned down by the city council.

The authority has already had to defend three previous refusals for similar roadside screens at appeals in the past 12 months, winning two and losing one.

Now London company Alright Media is to ask the Government's Planning Inspectorate to overturn the latest council decision to reject plans for an eye-catching display facing traffic coming down the city centre's busiest arterial road, next to Gateway House.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Preston's refusal of a gable end screen in London Road was overturned on appeal (Image: Clearglow).

The council refused the screen at Ringway's junction with Market Street West ruling it would have a "significant detrimental impact on visual amenity due to its prominent position and its size, height and illumination."

Planning officers decided it "would result in visual clutter in the wider street scene and surrounding area."

Read More

Read More
Latest planning applications to be approved or rejected in South Ribble include ...

But Alright Media argue it would be standard for large format advertisements in the UK which are "commonplace in North West streetscapes."

The city's first 48-page digital screen on the gable of the Parkside Cafe in Blackpool Road.

The company goes on: "The unit is of a similar design to existing advertisements which are increasingly common in the North West and in urban areas throughout the country."

The dispute is the latest over digital advert boards in the city since the first one was given council approval in 2018 on the gable end wall of the Parkside Cafe in Blackpool Road, Ashton.

Other display units have since gone up, with council blessing, at the junction of Ribbleton Lane and Deepdale Road, the intersection of Blackpool Road and Brook Street, the entrance to Deepdale Shopping Park and on land next to the Wycliffe Evangelical Church in Tulketh Brow.

But when the council rejected plans to site one on the car park of the former Neptune Pub on Strand Road in August 2020 due to the impact it would have on the neighbourhood, another London-based company, Clear Channel, took the matter to appeal, only to see it thrown out in January 2021.

The grassy area on Ringway where Alright Media want to site their ad screen.

The council lost an appeal against its refusal to allow a smaller screen on the gable end of a building in London Road next to Liquid Plastics in August 2021.

But it triumphed before a planning inspector in March this year after it threw out a request for permission to site a screen on land further down London Road, next to a car wash near the Shawes Arms.

In its submission to the appeal the authority will argue that the screens refused in Strand Road and London Road were very similar in size and scale to the one rejected in Ringway and, like the other two, it would have an adverse visual impact on its location.

“It is considered that the proposed signage would be an incongruous prominent feature within the street scene, with views of the sign highly prominent from the north and south sides of Ringway.” says a report from planning officers.

"It is determined that this particular location is unsuitable for the scale of advertisement proposed.”