'˜Council is not looking after local businesses'
Is this a sign of the times?
For 25 years, Chris and Richard Padgett of Stephen Padgett Ltd have advertised their furniture showrooms on Division Lane with the help of a green sign at the side of the road.
But six months ago they, along with other businesses in the area, were ordered to remove their signs by Fylde Council.
Chris, 47, said: “It has been a bit of a nightmare. The sign has been up there for more than 20 years and we have never had a problem with it before. It’s been our main advert for our trade and people can see where we are.
“It’s definitely affected business. The footfall coming in has really slowed down.”
But desperate to boost business, the brothers decided to reintroduce the sign to the roadside, despite knowing they could face another council rap.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Chris said: “We did it up nicely and cleaned up around the area so it looked good, then we get a call from the council saying they had a complaint, and to take it down.
“We think it’s a bit unreasonable. This is our livelihood.
“The council isn’t looking after local businesses.
“The argument was that it would distract drivers, but there are so many advertisements these days, what difference is ours going to make?
“It wasn’t restricting any view. We rely on people driving past and seeing our sign.
“We will have to go down the proper route and resolve things with the council, which we are perfectly willing to do. But to come along and say ‘take it down’ without any warning is a bit harsh.”
Chris added that the support they received from their customers after speaking out was ‘unbelievable’.
He said: “The reaction from everyone has been amazing. I had no idea at all the amount of support we could expect.
“This is a family business so it’s not like a job to us, it’s our life.
“To get support from customers like that is very touching.”
A Fylde Council spokesman said: “While there may have been a small number of signs in this location for some time, the number of signs had increased over recent years due to the number of businesses increasing. This has led to a number of complaints to us from residents and local councillors.
“These have referred to the proliferation of signage and the unattractive appearance it presents at one of the key entrance points to the town of St Annes and Fylde borough.
“The signs all require consent under advertisement regulations, but are in a location where it is unlikely that consent would be granted as it would detract from the public amenity at this gateway.
“It may also be that the signs require consent from LCC as the highway authority as it seems that some of them at least were located on the highway.”