Plans for digital advert boards deferred

March 02 2020
Plans for digital advert boards deferred

The derelict site currently has three existing paper-and-paste advertising boards which would be replaced by a pair of digital signs displaying a series of changing static images, set at 45 degrees to the road in either direction.

by BBC LDRS reporters for
South Bristol Voice
Councillors have sent plans for two digital advertising hoardings in Bath Road back to the drawing board amid road safety fears and concerns over brightness.
Bristol City Council’s development control committee had been advised to grant permission for one electronic billboard and reject the other, near to the junction with Totterdown Bridge, but they voted to reject the recommendation following 68 objections, including three local councillors, and instead asked officers to either negotiate with the applicants to make the proposals acceptable, or come back with a report firming up their reasons to turn them down.
Members were warned that refusing consent could cost the local authority money, following a previous successful appeal against a decision by city councillors to reject a similar digital advert at the site on grounds of visual impact.
The derelict site currently has three existing paper-and-paste advertising boards which would be replaced by a pair of digital signs displaying a series of changing static images, set at 45 degrees to the road in either direction.
Transport officers were concerned that eastbound drivers would be distracted by the digital advert facing them and that the consequences could be ‘severe’. Councillors said cyclists would be placed in peril.
Cllr Martin Fodor said: “This road is very dangerous in both directions. I am very concerned about the highway hazards on both sides of the road.
“Changing-digital displays that are bright and deliberately distracting will make the road less safe.”
Cllr Harriet Bradley said: “I am opposed to either of these boards going up.
“I have had a lot of messages from cyclists and pedestrians who have stressed the dangerousness of Bath Road. People make mistakes because of the confusing nature of the bus lane.”
Cllr Bradley said a 15-storey residential tower block was going up opposite the site, and the ads would have an impact on people who move in.
Cllr Celia Phipps said: “We have just declared an ecological emergency and we are aware of the damage light pollution causes to insects, birds and bats. I cannot support either of these boards.”
Cllr Tim Kent said the brightness should be well below that proposed for night-time hours and that the plans should be refused.
Cllr Fi Hance said: “It is frustrating that we have declared a climate emergency and an ecological emergency but we have no means as a city of enforcing it when it comes to planning. None of us like this at all. We all think it’s a bad idea.
“I feel quite strongly that we need to send out a signal that we do not want these digital displays in a residential street. This is not the M32, it’s not Bond Street.”
Cllr Mike Davies told the meeting on February 12: “These screens are a bad idea and a waste of that site. However, I realise in planning terms there are only certain things we can consider.
“We do refuse a lot of them successfully but I understand the officers’ argument that one should be approved and the
other refused.”
Cllr Don Alexander said: “Given there is already planning permission for something similar there, the officers’ recommendation is a very reasonable middle ground.
There is a danger we’ll end up with something we do not really want if we don’t take that middle ground.”
Six members voted against the officers’ recommendation to approve one sign and reject the other, with two voting in favour, and one abstention.
Councillors then voted 8-1 for a motion to defer the decision with a view to refusing Brentford-based applicants JCDecauxUK permission.
A new report will come back to committee at a later date.