Clarkebond Highway Consultants evidence wins planning approval on appeal

When a commercial property company was refused planning permission for a series of simply worded office space letting boards at a site adjacent to a trunk road, they decided to appeal the decision and appointed Clarkebond to prepare evidence for the appeal hearing.

Because of the potential distraction hazard for drivers, roadside advertising requires planning permission and in this case, the local planning authority, in consultation with the highway authorities, refused planning permission citing road safety as the principal reason for refusal.

In preparing the appeal statement, Clarkebond highway consultants reviewed national and local policy, relevant highway standards and the findings of academic research. Roadside advertising is distracting from the driving operation but the policy test is ‘is it so distracting’ that it is detrimental to public safety. There are different levels of roadside advertising; from the simple message boards, (as proposed by our client), to static image boards that provoke an emotional response,(as in the photograph), to moving image boards that are now found in many of our city centres. Distraction increases with images and more so with moving images. However, all forms are permitted and despite a wealth of research there is no proven link between the location of roadside advertising and road traffic accidents.

In allowing the appeal, the Planning Inspector stated in the Decision Notice ‘I agree with the appellant’s highway consultants that these signs would not be so distracting or confusing so as to cause a hazard...I conclude, therefore that the proposed signs would not have an adverse impact on highway safety..’