Pub owners ‘flabbergasted’ after council tells them to remove signs

New owners of a village pub near Stafford have described themselves as "flabbergasted" after being told by a council to remove two temporary signs or face a £5,000 fine.

Bank House landlord Dean Fuggle and partner Katharine Alldritt near one of the banners at the entrance to Hixon
Bank House landlord Dean Fuggle and partner Katharine Alldritt near one of the banners at the entrance to Hixon

Dean Fuggle, and his partner Katharine Alldritt, took over the Bank House pub in Hixon at the end of May after it was closed a month earlier.

They set about getting the 17th Century inn ready for a reopening on May 29, including placing two temporary banners at the entrances to Hixon near the A51 road.

But within days of the signs going up, they were served with a notice to remove the banners or face a fine of £2,500 for each banner, plus £250 per day for any continuing offence.

Dean’s father, Barry, said: “Dean and Katharine are young entrepreneurs who have taken on and reopened a previously closed hospitality business.

"We all know how hard hit the hospitality industry has been these last fifteen months, I would have expected more support from the council in line with government guidance for local councils to be more lenient in allowing business to promote their reopening and be more relaxed with planning regulations.

“We have gone to great lengths to ensure that no roadside signage is obscured and no impairment of visibility for road users. These are two temporary vinyl banners to allow us to get the message out that the Bank House has reopened and to encourage and welcome new visitors to Hixon.”

Jobs

Dean said: “We have created 10 new local jobs so far and we hope to double that number once we start serving traditional pub food.”

Stafford Borough Councillor, Brendan McKeown was contacted by Dean and Katherine for help.

Councillor McKeown said: “I have to admit this does seem like taking a sledgehammer to break a nut.

"I have several enforcement issues in the Haywoods and Hixon Ward at the present time, most of which I would consider to be rather more pressing than a couple of temporary roadside banners.

"I understand the need to prevent random fly-posting, but surely there can be a way of dealing with similar situations in the future such as a 28-day temporary permission when properly applied for.”

A spokesman for Stafford Borough Council said: "This advertising banner was close to a junction on a busy road and if there was an accident due to a driver being distracted we would have been criticised for not taking action to have it removed.

"There was no permission to place this banner at that location and, as with any fly-posting, we asked the owners to remove it.

"We want to work with businesses to ensure they thrive in our borough and during the pandemic we have distributed more than £47million to those who have suffered from the impact of Covid-19. And we continue to roll out further grants, along with advice and support, to hundreds of businesses.”

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