Petrol station and coffee shop sign heights reduced following objections

Advertising signs for a new petrol station and coffee shop next to the M6 have been reduced in height following objections from nearby residents – and illuminated signage facing homes must be switched off at night.

A Google Street View Image Of The Land Off Creswell Grove Near Stafford Earmarked For A Petrol Station And Major Development. M6 Is In The Background
A Google Street View Image Of The Land Off Creswell Grove Near Stafford Earmarked For A Petrol Station And Major Development. M6 Is In The Background

One sign for the new Costa Coffee branch off Creswell Grove, near Stafford, was set to be 10m tall, while another for the Shell petrol station would have been more than 9m tall.

More than 40 residents objected to the signage plans and Creswell Parish Council also raised concerns. In response the height was reduced for three signs and a banner frame was removed, meaning no sign will now be more than 6m tall.

On Wednesday Stafford Borough Council’s planning committee gave the go-ahead for the amended plans for the site, which is next to Junction 14 of the M6. Conditions for approval included illuminated signs along the site’s northern and western boundaries being switched off between 11pm and 7am – and ward councillor Ray Sutherland called for an earlier time of 10pm.

Fellow ward councillor Mark Winnington called in the application for consideration by the planning committee because of concerns about the impact of light pollution on local residents, as well as the effect on the street scene.

Crewell Grove resident Mike Craney, who spoke against the plans at Wednesday’s meeting, said: “My neighbours and myself are still completely against the proposals.

“The whole thrust of the previously agreed planning permission was that it was a local facility serving the local community and not a motorway service area. In that case any signage should reflect the nature of this site.

“It is a rural site and should have signage appropriate to a rural location. We do not require a 24 hour garage and there isn’t one in Stafford to my knowledge.

“I would like to stress the damage that such tall illuminated signs will do to our properties. I also believe the proposed level of illuminations will cause a statutory nuisance to occur. In the case of statutory nuisance I would expect the council to take appropriate action. Granting planning permission does not grant the right to cause what would be deemed as a nuisance to the many residents who will be impacted by this site.

“As a professional HGV driver I am fully aware that the northbound carriageway of Junction 14 sweeps round a blind bend. This has been the site of a number of serious accidents. I believe that any distraction by signage at the side of the motorway will cause a major accident.”

The Costa sign will now be no more than six metres tall

But Paul Blackmore, who spoke in support of the application, said: “Our original application was clearly for a 24-hour filling station.

“We have significantly reduced the height of the totems and removed a banner so that the signage blends in with the approved buildings.

“Regarding the consideration that our signage was designed to attract vehicles travelling on the M6, it simply was not. We were made aware of these thoughts prior to submitting the application by the planning officer.

“The signage locations have always been on Creswell Grove, well away from the M6, facing side-on to the M6. Had it been the intention to attract vehicles from the M6 we would have proposed the signage to be located at the corner of our plot, next to the M6 slip road, with the signage directly facing the M6.

“Another concern raised in the local area is that it suffers from overnight HGV parking. To assist, the proposed signage has messages on two of the signs in bold red stating ‘no HGVs’.

Mr Blackmore added that there were a number of petrol station sites elsewhere in the borough that had signage taller than the amended plans for Creswell, and these were located closer to nearby homes than the signs proposed for Creswell Grove.

The meeting was told that Highways England was content with the height of the signs and did not consider they would affect traffic on the M6.

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