Residents sniff victory over signs

PEOPLE power appears to have triumphed over the might of big business on an Ipswich estate.

PEOPLE power appears to have triumphed over the might of big business on an Ipswich estate.

Residents in Ravenswood could soon be celebrating if officials heed recommendations by planning officers to reject a planning application by fast-food giant McDonald's to build giant illuminated advertising signs on the estate.

The company, known for its flame-haired clown Ronald McDonald, created a circus on the estate after announcing it was to build a restaurant on the Ashwell Neighbourhood Centre - its sixth in Ipswich.

But while residents were unable to prevent McDonald's taking up residence in Ravenswood, it seems they have been successful in campaigning against the garish yellow and red signs erected to tempt hungry drivers in Nacton Road.

More than 80 households wrote to planners to voice their concerns about the signs.

McDonald's had hoped to build a nine-metre illuminated sky sign as well as illuminated poster panels.

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However, in a report which will go before an Ipswich Borough Council planning committee on Wednesday, officers recommend the application be turned down.

The report reads: “The free-standing pole would, by reason of its siting, height and illumination, amount to an unduly conspicuous feature in the street scene, and would be out of keeping with its location.”

It also says the poster panels would “overload” advertising on the building.

Today, Ravenswood Residents' Association chairman Ginny Waterworth spoke of her optimism that the people had won the day.

She said: “I don't want to jump the gun but if the sky sign does not go ahead, we will be very pleased about that.

“We have had 83 people complaining about the application. The residents have responded magnificently.”

She added: “We are still going to have a McDonald's in Ravenswood but at least we have done something positive about it.”

A further two applications relating to the Neighbourhood Centre will be discussed on Wednesday.

Councillors will be recommended to give permission to one application for a three-storey apartment building comprising 15 flats and another for a pub.

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