MISSION Creep – that’s what the military call it. Once you’ve beaten the opposition and achieved your main objective, don’t stop – keep demanding more. And that’s exactly what Pulse and Cocktails, the owners of the sex shop at Sawtry, are now doing.
In 2010 they won their major battle, against their strongest opposition - a 1,500 signature petition - and somehow bamboozled Huntingdonshire District Council into granting a licence. But they'd lost one minor skirmish, being allowed only small discreet advertising signs.
So now, time for licence renewal - ideal time for mission creep? Let's persuade HDC to allow a very large "totem" sign, (whatever that is) visible from the motorway.
Now this shop is located right at the Junction 15 slip road - so close that at the 2010 hearing Police Inspector Ian Ford wrote - "Concern has been raised that any advertisement and associated signage may cause distraction to motorists…. This factor requires due consideration to ensure danger to road users is avoided."
This must have influenced the decision on signs then - so will the new HDC cabinet give due consideration to his comments now and reject this blatant application to attract more business?
At the time of the 2010 hearing, Graham Kidd, the Pulse & Cocktails MD, seemed to accept the difficult location and the small signs, saying: no, they don't rely on passing trade, their customers get to know where they are, so small signs wouldn't be a problem. What changed his mind? Mission creep - more profit.
However, as well as causing motorway traffic hazards, this large sign would set an inappropriate precedent. Planning permission now exists for a filling station next door, at the old motel site - will that demand a totem sign? And, if and when the motel re-opens, yet another enormous totem?
Definitions in my Oxford English Dictionary for this word include, as you might imagine, reference to native Americans - "a badge of a tribe" - but also suggest early usage in 1887 as - "totems consisting of the rude interpretation of a bear, a deer, an otter or a rat - need I say more?
If HDC allows this, it adds more insult to Sawtry's injury of having this undesirable shop on its doorstep - and who knows what the next creepy mission will be. If you also object, you have until about March 20 to complain to HDC - application 1200182ADV.