A 13-foot high LED advertising screen could be placed on a building in an historic part of Worcester – with furious critics saying it would look like “a corner of Times Square”.
A private group of investors want to place the screen on Trinity House in St Nicholas Street, which would be seen as far away as City Walls Road, Lowesmoor and San-some Walk.
The controversial project has angered community leaders after council chiefs rejected it, only for an appeal to be lodged. Worcestershire Coun-ty Council owns Trinity House and is set to receive weekly rental payments from the investors if an appeal is upheld.
The city council is adamant the idea should not go ahead because the building sits in a conservation area. The idea has been labelled “a waste of public money” and “totally wrong” for the character of the city.
Councillor Lynn Denham, who represents the city centre, said: “This would make that part of Worcester look like a corner of Times Square. It’s totally wrong and not at all sympathetic to the area. The appeal is a total waste of public money; both councils have spent time on this already.”
Craig Jones, from a company called Ad-Vantage Digital, says he has a team of people ready to plough cash into the idea. I’ve got investors on board but things haven’t gone to plan so far, despite telling the city council we’re happy to put their free advertising there,” he said.
“It’s in a good location and we want local businesses to advertise at cheap rates, as well as any organisations who want to give the community information.”
He also hopes to offer adverts to charities and other public bodies such as the NHS and police, which unlike businesses would get slots for free.
The screen would be more than nine feet wide and has also been heavily criticised by Worcester Conservation Committee, which said it “strongly objects” to it.
The appeal has bemused the city council, which says it is confident an independent inspector will agree with the refusal. Alan Cole-man, senior planning officer, said: “It’s not befitting of a conservation area.”
Trinity House’s ground floor is leased to Worcester Home Furnishings, but the rest of the floors are empty.