SAWTRY’S new sex shop needs new signs to avoid drivers on the A1 having to make lengthy detours and embarrassing villagers by asking for directors, its operators said this week.

Rotherham-based Pulse and Cocktails, which runs a chain of such stores, mostly in the north of England, opened the store last August in the former Little Chef premises in Toll Bar Way, just off the A1(M), eight months after being granted a licence by Huntingdonshire District Council.

Now it has applied to the council's planners for permission to erect a free-standing 'totem' sign and two entrance signs for the car park.

The company's managing director, Graham Kidd, said the totem sign would carry the same wording in the same size type as the existing horizontal sign.

"At the moment, it doesn't make for very easy high-speed reading. You can't see it until it's too late to turn off. It's proving a nightmare, and quite a few customers have complained about having to go on to the next junction and come back," he told The Hunts Post.

"The other signs are to prevent the need for people to ask directions in the village."

In spite of that, business was "growing nicely," he added.

Once planning consent was granted, the firm would go on to seek approval from the licensing department.

In spite of Mr Kidd's assurances at the licensing hearing that the establishment would be operated discreetly, opposition in the village remains implacable.

Former county council leader Keith Walters, who lives in Sawtry, said he was appalled by the application but would not bother to object.

"There's no point. From start to finish HDC has paid no attention to the views of the residents of Sawtry. It has ignored the largest number of written objections ever received, and given Pulse and Cocktails everything they have asked for, whether or not it accords with the council's own policy on sex shops. So I know I would get nowhere."

Independent district councillor Dick Tuplin said villagers had predicted that the site would prove unsuccessful, which was what Pulse and Cocktails was finding. I've never seen anyone going in or out.

"We should stick to our guns at HDC. The signage is getting overpowering, and we don't want more.

"You can see it from the southbound carriageway, but you can't get over to it, and you can't see it from the northbound. I fear they will try to cut down the shrubs."