Planning inspector overrules council officers over supermarket sign

Lidl, Huntingdon.

Lidl, Huntingdon. - Credit: Archant

A multi-national retailer has won an appeal that will allow it to retain a 20ft-tall ‘totem’ sign located outside its supermarket in Huntingdon.

Huntingdonshire District Council had originally rejected plans by Lidl to install the totem sign outside its branch in Stukeley Road late last year, calling it ‘excessive and incongruous’.

Planning officers said it was “unduly prominent” and located too close to the border of Huntingdon’s protected conservation area.

But 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.

The retailer subsequently appealed to the Planning Inspectorate and, after lengthy deliberation, the body decided to overturn the decision and allow the sign, which had already been erected, to remain in place.

In his report, planning inspector Timothy King said: “In this instance, although the totem sign’s height is significant it is stepped back slightly into the site and, I find, in its particular contextual setting, that it is in scale with its surroundings.

“Indeed, it is no different to that which could be reasonably expected at the threshold to other similar stores and petrol stations off such main roads.”

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Mr King added that the railway bridge and embankment also provided a “strong physical barrier” protecting the nearby conservation area from views of the sign.