Inspector overturns council on Bedford digital billboard plan

A paper advertising billboard is set to go digital after a planning inspector overturned the council’s refusal of consent.

By David Tooley, local democracy reporter
Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 4:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 5:01 pm

Clear Channel UK appealed to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate after Bedford Borough Council blocked plans to change a large gable billboard into an illuminated digital site.

The 48 sheet billboard at Midland Road, Bedford, is on the corner of Battison Street.

Appeal planner Conor Rafferty, who visited the area on September 11, disagreed with the council.

This billboard can go digital, says an inspector

He said it would “not cause such a drastic change to the appeal site so as to have an adverse effect on the visual amenity of the area.”

And even though the site is on the edge on a residential area he said it “blends well with the immediate commercial surrounds.”

Inspector Chris Preston, who agreed with his colleague, imposed conditions to limit the brightness of the sign, rapid changes of picture, and special effects.

But in his decision letter dated September 22 he did not think it necessary to ban highways-style images or to switch the lights off between midnight and 5am.

Mr Preston said: “I agree that the appeal should be allowed and that express consent should be granted for the upgrade of existing 48 sheet advert to support digital poster.”