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Giant advert banner approved on Worcester's Trinity House
A GIANT advertising banner has secured approval to be slapped on one of Worcester’s most criticised buildings by the narrowest of margins.
Worcester City Council’s planning committee today agreed that a 20-foot by 10-foot ‘for sale’ banner can cover Trinity House in St Nicholas Street despite serious concerns over its size.
It comes after a businessman’s plan to place a smaller banner on the same building was rejected due to it being a conservation area.
During the fierce debate this afternoon, some politicians said there was no logic in approving it, but it was backed by five votes to three.
It will advertise the county and city councils’ joint plan for a multi-million pound revamp of the area, which would see the Cornmarket car park and Trinity House sold to a developer for a new shopping and leisure complex.
Councillor Lynn Denham, speaking during the planning committee debate, said: “I’ve got significant concerns about this.
“Permission has already been refused for smaller hoarding, yet this one is about half as tall again, as the one which was rejected.
“The fact this one isn’t lit up and is temporary (until Friday, January 31) doesn’t change the logic or reasoning why we refused the last one.
“On other buildings where this has happened we’ve taken enforcement action.
I’m not comfortable with this, it certainly doesn’t enhance the conservation area.”
Councillor Paul Denham said: “If this was a private applicant rather than the county council we need to ask ourselves what the answer would be to this, which is no, I suspect.
“I have no idea whatsoever why this is so big, it doesn’t need to be anywhere near this size.”
Other politicians joined in the criticism, with Councillor Robert Rowden saying it was “absolutely out of proportion and unnecessary”.
But opinion was divided, with Councillor Geoff Williams, the Labour leadership’s deputy leader, urging the committee to “look behind the sign”.
“What is most important here is the regeneration of a key site - what this sign does is tell visitors, tell residents what we’re trying to do,” he said.
“They will see the scale of the sign and it will stimulate interest and discussion.”
His plea was backed by some Conservatives, with Councillor Derek Prodger saying Trinity House was an “awful” building he wants sold as soon as possible.
"The point of regeneration is very important," he said.
"It wll identify that this site, which is awful, is up for sale - this is the right thing to do to make sure people know it's up for regeneration."
Councillor David Wilkinson, chairman of the committee, said: "It's not something we would normally allow, but there is the 'greater good' argument here."
During the vote Labour councillors Paul and Lynn Denham joined Tory Robert Rowden to call for refusal, but five others backed approval.
Coun Paul Denham said he would be happier if the advert banner was reduced in size by half, but was told planning guidelines would not allow that condition to be voted on.
Back in March a bid for a 13-foot flashing LED screen was rejected after concerns it would make Trinity House look like “Times Square”.
The screen would have beamed adverts to passers-by, and was the work of a businessman in conjunction with the county council, which was prepared to rent the building's wall.
An appeal was lodged, but it was thrown out by an inspector.
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