RESIDENTS on St Andrews Road are continuing to fight supermarket chain Lidl as they submit another planning application to install a luminous sign, pictured, in front of the store.
In 2011, Lidl’s application to erect a large illuminated advertising pole at the entrance of the store was rejected by West Dorset District Council after both residents and Bridport Town Council objected to the plans, but now they have submitted another application for a 7.5 metre high and 2.7 metres wide advertising sign.
Members of the St Andrews Road and District Association are once again objecting to Lidl’s proposed plans, calling it “ugly” and “obtrusive” and asked members of Bridport Town Council’s plans committee to support them during their meeting on Monday.
Addressing councillors, member Simon Williams said: “St Andrews Road is the northern gateway to our town and the World Heritage Site. What will visitors be greeted with? An illuminated advertising totem pole as high as a house to the glory of Lidl and its bakery.
“Lidl lies in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and opposite and adjoining a conservation area, there is a listed building opposite. Anything that is done there should enhance the environment. The proposed sign will not have a neutral effect.
“A dual use of the pavement has been proposed for a cycle lane and pedestrian route as in Sea Road South. The sign would be a major obstruction to this taking place.”
Another member of the residents association, Amanda Lankshear, also objected to the plans: “I live next to Lidl and already there is tremendous amounts of light which emanates from there all day and sometimes all night.
“It already has an effect on the back of my house, shining into my bedroom window, and if this goes ahead then this light will shine directly into my bedrooms at the front and bay window.
“I see no reason why we need another sign there, everybody knows where Lidl is. It is a conservation area and this does not add to the area; it takes away, as does Lidl itself, which is a complete blot on a landscape.
“We are in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and I think that should be respected and I think the application should be refused.”
Bronwen Dickenson, who lives two doors up from Lidl next to Amanda, also suffers light pollution from the store.
She said: “I do think it will be very, very ugly, very obtrusive and will take any prettiness that is already left away.
“I don’t see the point of it, everyone knows where Lidl is, it is a small town and their sign there is adequate.”
Members of the planning committee agreed and Cllr Geoff Ackerman said: “We can’t allow that can we? There is too much of it, it’s far too high and we can’t possibly accept that.
Cllr Sarah Williams said that the council would be objecting to the application on the grounds of impact on neighbours and impact on a conservation area.
Cllr Julian Jones said: “I think we should strongly object, not just object. The further up places like St Katherine’s Avenue and up on the tops of Jessopp Avenue and so on, Lidl is very visible and this is a big encroachment on the AONB in a sense.
“They are completely wasting their money. Everybody knows where Lidl is; you can’t drive past Lidl without seeing it. It is a perfectly good store, they don’t need to advertise it any further.”
Cllr Dave Rickard said: “We have already fought this battle with something a fraction of the size, we won the battle on illuminated signs across the whole town.
“Domino’s Pizza wanted to put a much smaller totem on the corner of the new car park and that has been turned down, so I think we have got planning law on our side. I think we should refer to previous applications just to remind them [planning officers] they have already turned down something a fraction of the size.”
Cllr Rickard also wanted the committee to look into the original application for Lidl and what was required of the store regarding light and screening.
He added: “I seem to recall that there was some request for screening to the houses to the north of the site and I wonder whether you feel that we need to look at the original application and see what was asked for. Even if it wasn’t an article, I suggest that it might be possible to ask for it. I think we need to not only object but also point out that they are not behaving in a very neighbourly way.”
Residents have until November 4th to submit comments to West Dorset District Council on this planning application at https://goo.gl/jT17GI
View From approached Lidl for comment on the matter but they had yet to respond by the time of going to press.