Plan for towering supermarket sign is turned down by council planners over conservation area fears

The council has turned down Lidl's plan to erect a totem sign in Stukeley Road.

The council has turned down Lidl's plan to erect a totem sign in Stukeley Road. - Credit: Archant

A retailer’s plan to erect a sign outside its new Huntingdon branch has been criticised by council officials as ‘excessive and incongruous’.

Supermarket chain Lidl is in the process of building a new branch in Stukeley Road, a development which could bring dozens of jobs to the town.

As part of the process, the retailer applied to Huntingdonshire District Council to install two wall-mounted signs and a totem sign, which was set to be almost 20ft in height and illuminated.

Lidl argued that a precedent for totem signs already existed in Stukeley Road, with Tyre Pro, Murketts Vauxhall and Stukeley Retail Park all having erected similar signs, albeit of slightly smaller scale.

But district council planning officer Tara Everson disagreed with the retailer, saying that the area in which Lidl plans to open is less industrial and closer to the conservation area of Huntingdon.

Rejecting the application for planning permission, Ms Everson said: “The proposed totem sign, by virtue of its six-metre height, proximity to the road and illumination, on an important gateway into the town centre conservation area, would be excessive in scale resulting in an unduly prominent and incongruous feature within the street scene.

“This would be harmful to the character of the area.”

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Lidl’s plans for the two wall-mounted signs were approved, however. The supermarket has six months to appeal the decision to the Planning Inspectorate.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is too much weight given to the conservation area in planning decisions? Send your thoughts to Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TB or e-mail