Basildon planning committee to meet over Billericay shop sign row

BASILDON councillors will decide tonight whether to take legal action against a Billericay business over ‘illegal advertising’.

Council documents claim that Queenies – a coffee shop in Billericay High Street – has displayed an ‘illegal’ sign outside its premises for the second time.

Civil servants have asked Basildon Council’s planning committee to give permission for the council’s solicitor to issue a removal notice to the business.

They wrote in a report: “The advertising… introduces an obtrusive and garish element into the street scene, which has a significant detrimental impact on the wider established historic character of the town.”

In August, the council issued a prior removal notice after the coffee shop put up a ‘three-dimensional, illuminated, illegal’ sign.

A planning report says the council is now plotting action a second time.

It reads: “The advertising subject to the original removal notice has been removed by the owner but, however, replaced with a two-dimensional version of the same advertising, which has been erected without the consent of the Local Authority and is therefore illegal advertising.”

The original, 3D sign had the word Queenies in red letters, with white neon lights in the letters. The replacement keeps the original sign, but it is 2D and printed.

The planning report states that Billericay High Street is a ‘conservation area’ with more than 40 listed buildings, meaning a set of guidelines have been drawn up governing how the area should look.

Those guidelines state that ‘advertisements on shopfronts should be designed so that they are of a size, design and materials that complement the character of the building and the area as a whole’.

The guidelines claim that ‘large, modern, internally illuminated signs’ are ‘inappropriate’.

They also state that colours used on the signs ‘should harmonise with the remainder of the buildings and streetscape’.

The rules urge businesses to design their signs in ‘greens, blacks and browns’ and avoid ‘vibrant and garish colours’.

The planning committee will debate the issue in a public meeting at the Bas Centre at 7pm tonight, November 19.

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Charles Thomson

Chief ReporterEmail: [email protected]