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Neighbours fury over giant advertising sign in Blackpool Road which keeps them awake

Posted on - 26th April, 2019 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston News
The billboard on the side of the cafe in Blackpool Road Pic: Tony Worrall
The billboard on the side of the cafe in Blackpool Road Pic: Tony Worrall

Neighbours living near a giant illuminated advertising hoarding say they are losing sleep due to the light it gives off.

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The bill board was installed on the side of the Parkview Cafe on Blackpool Road in August, but residents living nearby branded the sign an eyesore and said they were not consulted before it was installed.

Dr Brian Hitchen, who lives in Waterloo Road, said: “The light is keeping us awake at night. It is shining into our bedroom, it shines into our kitchen, our dining room and our hallway.

“It is an absolute intrusion.

“The first we heard about it was when it appeared. We were never spoken to before that. We have now taken it up with the council.”

A number of residents have complained to Preston City Council in a bid to have it removed.

Read more: Management company VMS brought in to take over the Guild Hall

A Preston City Council spokeswoman said: “The Council’s Planning and Environmental Health teams are investigating complaints received regarding the illuminated billboard on Blackpool road.

“Working together with the company who manage the billboard, we are ensuring it meets the planning guidelines originally set out and is in line with environmental health regulations.“

A spokeswoman for Wallace Digital, who operate the advertising board, said: “There have recently been a number of false and misleading statements made about Wallace Digital and our digital advertising billboard on Blackpool Road so we feel it is important to correct/ clarify a number of points.

“The board is owned solely by Edgar Wallace, a local businessman with substantial investments in Preston. Planning permission was granted to Edgar Wallace in April 2018. The board was installed and has been operating since August 2018.

“For a short period of time we were looking to operate the board in partnership with Simon Rigby under the name of Guild Visuals. However, due to professional differences of opinion, Edgar Wallace resigned from Guild Visuals and we continued this venture with absolutely no links to Simon Rigby or Guild Visuals.

“In January 2019, five months after the board had begun operating, we became aware that two complaints had been made to the Environmental Health Department regarding the board’s light levels at night – one from a local resident and one from a councillor who is a non-resident.

“We immediately contacted the environmental health department to determine the potential issue and begin dialogue. We voluntarily and pro-actively began testing the light levels to see if we could reduce these and as a result we voluntarily lowered the board to 75cdm2 at night. For reference street lamps operate around 300cdm2. We also chose to remove any adverts with full white backgrounds. We received confirmation from the EHO that they were not taking further action over the complaints.

“We installed the Digital Billboard as a means to support local businesses and charities. Every day we see empty shops on the streets of Preston – Blackpool Road being no exception. Our aim is to help local businesses to be able to get themselves noticed in a way that is normally only accessible for big brands – and provide a much needed boost to the local economy. We have had some fantastic feedback from our customers who have used the board so far.”

It is not the first time the area has had complaints over advertising at the site.

In 2009 a 15ft poster showing a near-naked glamour model advertising lapdancing club Perfect 10s sparked complaints to advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority.

What do you think of the illuminated bill board? Leave your views in the comments below.

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