Estate agent under investigation

AN estate agent is under investigation after a raft of seemingly innocuous boards sprang up in gardens.
One of the boards erected by Smart Move in Walmer BridgeOne of the boards erected by Smart Move in Walmer Bridge
One of the boards erected by Smart Move in Walmer Bridge

But what look like lime green ‘for sale’ signs are actually adverts for Smart Move, which has franchises in Longton, Tarleton and Churchtown.

The signs are placed in gardens along main roads, and have been spotted in Walmer Bridge, Rufford and Tarleton.

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Whereas ‘for sale’ signs do not require planning permission, some advertisements do, and now a complaint has been made that the signs breach Town and Country planning laws.

The complaint focuses on whether the signs flout the Miscellaneous Temporary Advertisements section of the law, which says adverts related to selling or letting property must be placed on the land in question.

The National Association of Estate Agents, which has been made aware of the issue, said it was a matter for local planning authorities. South Ribble Council has confirmed it is “actively investigating” the issue.

A West Lancashire Council spokesman said: “The Council is aware of the complaint and is investigating the matter.”

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Steven Gibson of Smart Move, said: “I have not been made aware of any complaint or investigation.

“We have gained people’s permission and have put the signs in several gardens.

“As far as we are concerned, they are the same size as a for sale sign and you don’t need permission for them.

“We do not believe there has been a breach of any legislation. It’s the same as when people put signs up in their gardens saying a new baby has been born.”

Dave Whittaker, also of Smart Move, claimed permission was not required due to the size and temporary nature.