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Proposed Bury St Edmunds billboards could distract drivers and pedestrians – planners



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Planners have turned down two proposed illuminated billboards in Bury St Edmunds on the grounds they could distract drivers and pedestrians.

The billboards would have replaced an existing billboard on Station Hill, which is attached to the Grade II-listed railway bridge over the A1101, and another on the other side of the bridge, in Fornham Road.

Applicant Network Rail had applied for advertisement consent to replace the boards but both proposals were refused after being determined using delegated powers.

Planners have refused permission for an illuminated billboard in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Google
Planners have refused permission for an illuminated billboard in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Google

An officer delegated report said: "The application proposes the replacement of unauthorised externally illuminated billboards in a sensitive location.

"It is considered the internally illuminated lighting and proposed luminance levels are inappropriate given the context of the site, in combination with the moving pictures that would be present, distracting pedestrians and motorists utilising the A1101 and zebra crossing, traffic island and footpaths in the area."

It added: "While the proposed advertisement display will largely be the same dimensions as the existing unauthorised billboard, the additional plinth means the overall size of the sign will be larger than existing.

A proposed billboard in Fornham Road has been refused by planners. Picture: Google
A proposed billboard in Fornham Road has been refused by planners. Picture: Google

"The proposed luminance is considered to be wholly excessive and inappropriate given the sensitive location of the signage on what is a well-used A-road. Therefore, the LPA (local planning authority) holds concerns regarding public safety. This harm is further exacerbated by the slideshow nature of the advertisements proposed which will distract pedestrians and vehicles."

The highways authority raised no objections to the proposals subject to the imposition of conditions.

However the billboards are in a sensitive location, being alongside a Grade II-listed railway bridge, Grade II-listed Fornham Free Church and the Grade I-listed and scheduled St Saviour's Hospital.

A decision notice issued by the council said: "The advertisement's close proximity, size, and elevated location currently detracts from the setting of the nearby heritage assets."