Roadside advert screen in Preston thrown out by government inspector for being too eye-catching

Another roadside digital advertising screen has been turned down in Preston because of the impact it might have on the area.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 14th March 2022, 12:30 pm

A planning inspector has dismissed an appeal by American-owned Clear View UK saying the city council was right to refuse the application in London Road on the grounds it would be visually obtrusive.

The six-metre by three-metre screen, standing three metres off the ground, would have displayed up to 48 adverts at intervals to passing motorists. It was earmarked for land between a car wash and the former Shawes Arms pub.

Yet it is only a few hundred yards from another site further up London Road where a similar screen was allowed on appeal by the same planning inspector last July.

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The site in London Road where Clear Channel UK wanted to put their digital ad screen.

The latest decision is the second to be thrown out by the government body at an appeal after Preston's planning committee refused companies permission to site screens in unsuitable spots - the other was in Strand Road, next to the old Neptune pub.

Even though the brightly lit displays could be viewed as a distraction to drivers, both have only been rejected because of the impact they might have on the area around them, not on safety grounds.

Preston now has at least six roadside screens up and running, with two more applications pending.

The city's first was approved by the council on the gable end of the Parkside Cafe in Blackpool Road, Ashton back in 2018.

Since then others have sprung up at various prominent locations near to busy roads.

In 2019/2020 permission was given to erect digital screens at the junction of Deepdale Road with Ribbleton Lane, the junction of Blackpool Road and Brook Street and at the entrance to Deepdale Shopping Park.

Last year a screen with a plant wall beneath was approved next to the Wycliffe Memorial Church at the bottom of Tulketh Brow.

And then an appeal hearing overturned the council's refusal for the screen on the gable end of a building in London Road, next door to Liquid Plastics.

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The same planning inspector who approved that application has now turned down a 6mx3m screen less than 400 yards away saying: "By virtue of its prominent and elevated roadside location, it would be readily visible to road users travelling north along the A6, from Ashworth Grove and to users of the nearby Guild Wheel footpath and cycle path.

"As a result of its large size and height and its free-standing siting, it would not sit comfortably. It would not relate well to the nearby built environment.

"The extensive internally illuminated sequential imagery would be conspicuous and visually obtrusive, in marked contrast to the existing relatively modest and more traditional signage in the area.

"The overtly contemporary advertisement would be a dominant feature that would be markedly out of keeping and discordant in the visual context of the verdant mature woodland that characterises this part of the A6.

"It would not be sympathetic to its landscape setting. It would detract from rather than contributing positively to the character and appearance of the area."

Preston Council has yet to decide on two more applications for digital screens, one on a patch of grass at the corner of Ringway and Market Street West and the other on the side of an Indian restaurant in Watery Lane.