BLUNDERING council chiefs have been left red-faced after they put up a giant Christmas panto poster – and broke their own planning rules.
The gaffe was uncovered after Rotherham Council pasted up the billboard advertising Jack and the Beanstalk at the town’s civic theatre. The council-owned venue is featuring the panto this year and officials decided to erect the 25ft by 15ft poster on the side of the town’s arts centre and library. But they did it without applying for the special permission needed before anyone is allowed to put up an advertising board that is so big.
The council’s own planning guidelines warns that large poster hoardings in prominent locations have a “dominant visual impact” on their surroundings and need to be sized with care.
Resident Don Buxton, who made the discovery under the Freedom of Information Act, said: “What we have here is Rotherham Council choosing to ignore the clear legal framework and planning legislation when it applies to itself, but which is vigorously and harshly imposed upon citizens and businesses.
“The planning department is at least very consistent with the farcical way it tries to discharge its extensive duties with jobsworth zeal on our behalf. But unlike the commercial world, when failure is an expensive lesson, those within the council continue to draw top dollar salaries whether they deliver 100 per cent or not.”
Another resident, Arthur Newey, 77, lost a long court battle with the council after he advertised his son’s carpet business by erecting a sign on the side of his house in Dalton, Rotherham, in 2009.
He said : “I know it’s one rule for one and one for another, but they have not even followed their own rules with this poster.”
A council spokeswoman said: “The complexities of advertising consent does allow for temporary posters, if they are within a certain size range, to advertise local cultural events. However, in this case the poster, which has been erected for six months at a time, does exceed that size range and does require consent.
“The poster will not be removed, but an application will not be made to retain it until January. Once removed in January the poster will not be erected on that particular site again as the Arts Centre is to be demolished as part of the regeneration of the site.”