A CONTROVERSIAL illuminated sign is going to light up a major Worcester road – leading to angry claims that it could put lives in danger.

Worcester Sixth Form College, Spetchley Road, has secured planning permission to illuminate its existing 8ft tall sign outside the main entrance.

The idea is to catch the eye of drivers heading towards the site, especially those trying to find it for night classes. It was approved by the city council’s planning committee despite anger over possible safety problems.

Councillor Richard Boorn, who represents the area, called for it to be thrown out at the meeting. “If you or I were driving down Spetchley Road, you’d be looking straight ahead – but if an illuminating sign was to your left or right, you’d probably turn your head,” he said.

“If you’re travelling at 30mph, you’d travel 44 feet in one second – and if someone stepped out in front of you at that moment, it would undoubtedly cause an accident. In the last six months alone, two people have been knocked down in Spetchley Road – it’s dangerous. This sign does offer a serious risk to children and adults, it’s purely a distraction and is totally unnecessary.” Members of the committee disagreed, saying it was “perfectly acceptable” and should not be rejected.

Councillor Robert Rowden said: “If one is visiting the site in the dark and doesn’t know where the sixth form is, I don’t see why this would not be useful.”

Bob Pender, from Worcestershire Highways, said it was “all subjective” as to whether it would cause a distraction. Councillor Geoff Williams said: “We have to consider this on highways and amenity grounds – there is no objection from the highways authority and if we had to defend an appeal, we’d have no defence.”

The sixth form says the sign will be turned off at 7pm on weekdays, apart from Wednesday evenings when it offers various night classes and it will remain switched on until 9pm.

The planning committee agreed to back it after a vote.

The decision comes just weeks after developer Bloor Homes secured permission for 256 new properties off nearby Kilbury Drive.