(Service Manager – Development Management) To consider the attached report for an application for Consent to display an illuminated folded aluminium 3-part background fascia sign with 80mm returns.
The Service Director for Planning Services, N Richardson, presented a report for advertisement consent to display an illuminated folded aluminium 3-part background white fascia sign with 80mm returns at 229 High Street in Epping. The application was before the Committee as it had been submitted by or on behalf of a District Councillor.
N Richardson informed the Committee that the application related to the ground floor retail use of a mid-terraced building located on the western side of the High Street, and was within a key frontage of the Epping Town Centre. The building itself was originally built in the 18th Century and then altered in the 19th century. The building was Grade II listed and located within the Epping Conservation Area. The face of the fascia sign would be covered in vinyl, with the lettering backlit by cold, LED lighting to create a halo around each character.
Planning Officers had concluded that the application with the relevant planning policies concerned with visual amenity and public safety. The Council’s Conservation Officer had lodged an objection to the application on the basis that the proposal failed to positively relate to the existing shopfront, its host building and the wider conservation area. However, Planning Officers had felt that there were significant public benefits to outweigh the harm to the appearance of the Grade II Listed building, and would have less impact than the previous sign that had been removed a number of years ago. Therefore, it was recommended that consent should be granted.
The Committee noted the two objections to the application that had been received from the Epping Society and Epping Town Council, who both had objected to the application. There were no public speakers registered for this application, and the Committee proceeded to debate the application.
In response to questions from members of the Committee, N Richardson clarified that the colour of the lighting would be white but it might appear slightly coloured due to the colour of the actual letters, and that it had not been included in the proposed conditions for the lighting to be turned off at night as there would be other lighting on during the night. N Richardson also informed the Committee that there were other examples in the Conservation Area of vinyl finishes to fascia, and therefore Planning Officers had considered this acceptable.
Cllr J M Whitehouse felt that halo lighting was a better option than box lighting, but did not feel that comparing this proposal to a bad decision made in 1992 was a particularly good argument for granting consent. Cllr K Williamson felt that the white fascia finish would enhance the building and the proposed low level of lighting would cause any issues. Cllr Brady similarly felt that it was a very subtle and low-key type of lighting being proposed and was inclined to give the applicant the benefit of the doubt. Cllr C C Pond highlighted that the building was listed and should be treated sympathetically, and the Committee should give weight to the opinion of the Council’s Conservation Officer. However, lighting was reversible and he was not convinced that there were sufficient reasons to refuse this application.
(1) That advertisement consent for application EPF/1702/21 at 229 High Street in Epping should be granted, subject to the following conditions:
1… The maximum luminance of the sign granted consent by this Notice shall not exceed 180 candelas per square metre.
2… The development hereby permitted shall be carried out and retained strictly in accordance with the following approved plans:
- Location Plan;
- Heritage Statement;
- Photograph of Abbotts sign;
- Block Plan; and
- Illustrator drawing.