|Campaigners Fear Rosslyn Park Advertising Here Forever|
Signs now effectively have permanent consent having been in place for 5 years
A local group campaigning against the LED advertising screen outside Rosslyn Park’s ground on the Upper Richmond Road fear that the structures are set to become a permanent feature of the landscape even though they were originally only granted temporary permission.
The three screens which are owned by JC Decaux and are an important source of revenue to the rugby club are known at The Barnes Tower and collectively The Barnes Landmark.
The Campaign Against Rosslyn Park Advertising (CARPA) has fought against the installation of the signs since they were first proposed back in 2014. At that point consent was given for a three year placement of the signs subject to an environmental review.
At the end of the period a review of the lighting levels on the signs was undertaken which found that the displays were compliant. JC Decaux applied for an extension of the consent for two years for the signs citing financial reasons. Having been in place for five years the signs are automatically granted ‘deemed consent’ which means they can remain in perpetuity.
CARPA lodged a complaint contending that at the time it was not made clear by the Planning Department to the Committee that in extending the permission they were actually granting the screens permanent permission. The complaint was escalated and the Chief Executive of WBC upheld the complaint that the minutes of the meeting were not as clear as they should have been but was satisfied that due protocol had been observed. CARPA then requested that a Discontinuation Notice but a meeting of the planning committee voted against this with the Conservative councillors opposing and the Labour councillors in favour.
When the original consent was given council planning officers argued for limiting it to 3 years, saying, “…given the size and nature of the advertisements and their location on the Metropolitan Open Land adjacent to Barnes Common, it would, as suggested by both TfL and the Council's Environmental Services Officer, be appropriate to review their installation in due course. To that end a temporary advertisement consent would be appropriate in the first instance.”
In its report on 2020/0083/ENF the planning department concluded, “The advertisements do not cause substantial injury to the amenity of the local area and do not pose a danger to the public. It is not recommended to pursue discontinuance action.”
CAPRA argues that this determination was based solely on the impact of lighting levels which can be adjusted if necessary and a range of other issues which justified discontinuation were not considered. It also says that when the original recommendation was made it was understood that after three years, a thorough review would be conducted of the impact of the screens on the neighbourhood including a public consultation.
It is contended that the signs have a much bigger visual impact than was indicated in the planning submission, advertisements which are inappropriate for children including for alcohol and gambling are regular displayed at the site and the refusal of similar signs at Tibbets Corner shows that the interpretation of planning laws has changed since these signs were installed.
CAPRA are now calling for a ‘full and proper review of the adverse impact’ of the signs and while they accept that actions short of complete discontinuance could be acceptable such as changes to hours of operation and a reduction of the number of screens they still believe complete removal is the best option.