A large digital advertising sign in a prominent Hereford spot can be installed after all, a Government-appointed inspector has ruled.

Alight Media of London applied in August 2021 to put up the 6.4-metre by 3.4-metre metal-framed LED screen in front of mature trees in the grounds of the Richmond Place Club by Edgar Street, the A49 through the city, across from the Old Market multi-storey car park.

The venue had at the time received “little to no revenue for nearly 18 months” due to the pandemic, the original application explained.

Renting out space for the sign “would assist significantly to the survival of the club along with the opportunity to advertise upcoming events”, it said.


Herefordshire Council planners refused the bid in November 2021, saying it would distract drivers heading south at a “complex and busy” part of the highway, and would therefore “adversely affect public safety”.

Highways England, which manages the A49 as part of the national highways network, also “strongly recommended” the sign be refused for these reasons.

The sign would also “form an incongruous and unduly intrusive addition” to the edge of the city’s central conservation area, the council said.


Alight Media then appealed against the council’s refusal.

From his inquiry, the appointed planning inspector Andrew Boughton noted that for southbound traffic, the junction at Blackfriars Road was more than 100 metres before the proposed display, while “the main direction sign is in the central reservation slightly beyond it”.

The display’s lighting levels “would correspond to industry standards in terms of intensity and frequency of the change of advertisement, so as not to confuse a road-user’s view”, he said.

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He therefore concluded the proposal “would not result in an unacceptable risk to public safety”.

On the sign’s visual impact, it “would be experienced within a largely commercial environment where significant commercial signage is already found”, away from the setting of any listed building.

The inspector remarked that the council’s “lack of any formal character appraisal” of this part of the conservation area, as a tool to assess such proposals against, was “unusual in a location replete with heritage assets”.