The approving of a Herefordshire car dealer’s new signage by the A49, that was already in place, “makes a mockery of the whole planning system”, the local parish council has claimed.

Suzuki GB applied in October for permission for five new signs, both wall-mounted and free-standing, three of which were to be illuminated, at its new outlet south of Hereford.

Callow and Haywood Parish Council opposed the bid at the time, saying the work had already been completed before the application was considered, despite the form stating otherwise.


Extending “the expanse of illumination” along the road “without any consideration for local residents”, has created “a blot on the landscape” which “can be seen in all directions for miles around”, it said.

The signs at the new site “have been erected without permission, which the parish council believe is wholly unacceptable and request [Herefordshire Council’s] enforcement team to intervene”, it added.


But county planners found nothing wrong with the bid, as the signs “would be sited within a context of a site with existing signage and adjacent to similar uses also with signs of a similar design” – a reference to the several neighbouring car dealerships on the strip.

Though illuminated, the signs “would not have an adverse impact upon the amenities of the established character and appearance of the area”, they judged.

However, it permitted the “totem pole” by the road to be illuminated only during the dealership’s opening hours.

The parish council responded to the decision by saying: “We are always disappointed when permissions are given to planning applications where due process has not been observed.

“In this case, it would appear that Suzuki completed the illuminated signage works before the application had even been submitted, which makes a mockery of the whole planning system.

“Regrettably, it seems all too easy for some businesses to finish schemes before applying for retrospective planning approval, and there appears to be no deterrent, enforcement or sanctions from Planning, which sends the wrong message.”

The condition on illuminating the totem pole “does not balance our concerns regarding unchecked commercial sprawl so close to our parishioners’ homes”, it added.

A Herefordshire Council spokesperson said in response: “Retrospective planning applications such as this can be a source of concern and frustration and we acknowledge the disappointment expressed by the parish council.

“We do not condone such applications but under the current system we are legally obliged to determine them against the same policies and in the same way as applications that are submitted prior to works being undertaken.

“The refusal of a retrospective application would be referred to our planning enforcement team who will consider further action to remedy unauthorised works.”

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