An end to A1 sign saga in Northumberland?

Rod Smith with his sign at the Barn at Beal.
Rod Smith with his sign at the Barn at Beal.
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A years-long saga over advertising signs next to the A1 could be over, while a sign for the proposed McDonald’s in Alnwick has also been given the go-ahead.

Since 2008, the Barn at Beal, near Holy Island, has tried to get permission for signs next to the A1 to attract more business. Over the years, two planning applications and two appeals have been refused.

The site of the proposed McDonald's restaurant at Cawledge in Alnwick, between the petrol station and the A1.

The site of the proposed McDonald's restaurant at Cawledge in Alnwick, between the petrol station and the A1.

At Thursday night’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s north area planning committee, members were recommended to refuse a third bid for three different signs at various points on the A1, one on the southbound side and two on the northbound side.

The Highways Agency, which is responsible for the trunk road, objected to the sign closest to the Holy Island junction due to road-safety concerns, but raised no issues regarding the other two.

However, the county council planning officer recommended refusal for these two as they would ‘substantially harm the amenity of the area through being an intrusive addition to an otherwise natural landscape’.

But at the meeting, committee members decided to go against officer advice and approve the two signs that the Highways Agency deemed acceptable.

Meanwhile, plans for a free-standing 12-metre totem sign at the site of the approved McDonald’s on the outskirts of Alnwick was due to go before the committee, but was withdrawn from the agenda.

This was because the scheme was amended to address an objection from Alnwick Town Council, which was concerned about the visual impact due to the height of the sign, suggesting it should be at least two metres shorter. A 10-metre sign has now been approved under delegated powers.

The Highways Agency had raised concerns about the position of the sign in an original application and these concerns too were addressed by the fast-food corporation and the application resubmitted.

For more on this story and the rest of Thursday’s north area planning committee meeting, see Thursday’s Northumberland Gazette.