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Sign of the times as notices come down

PUBLISHED: 10:20 31 January 2002 | UPDATED: 15:24 03 March 2010

FAMILIAR signs off the A12 have come down following a long-running battle between pub owners and council officials.

Owners of the Lion Inn pub at Little Glemham, near Saxmundham, removed signs advertising the pub on the approaches to the village after the landowner was threatened with legal action.

FAMILIAR signs off the A12 have come down following a long-running battle between pub owners and council officials.

Owners of the Lion Inn pub at Little Glemham, near Saxmundham, removed signs advertising the pub on the approaches to the village after the landowner was threatened with legal action.

As they did so, they demanded "equal treatment" for other businesses.

Suffolk Coastal District Council decided to take action over the signs following a complaint by a member of the public in August 2000.

They claimed they detracted from the appearance of the surrounding countryside and could lead to a "proliferation" of similar signs, and said it was unlikely they would get retrospective planning consent.

The pub claims the signs have been there for at least 15 years, and argue that they improve traffic safety by giving advance warning to motorists that they are approaching the pub.

They also say they are good for business, especially the summer trade. They are currently negotiating with the council with a view to putting up a brown tourist sign.

Landowner Major Philip Hope-Cobbold withdrew his permission to site the signs on his land following the threat of legal action. His agent said he did not want to be obstructive and wanted to help local businesses, but had to comply with the law.

Pub manager Martin Pendle said they were "disappointed and slightly aggrieved that we are being singled out" by the council.

"We now expect other businesses to be treated in the same way as the Lion Inn. We'll become the sign police for Suffolk Coastal if you like," he said.

He claimed other businesses had "huge horrendous-looking" signs on the main road.

"Nothing seems to be happening to them," he complained.

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