An AmendmentSheet wasprovided to the Committeein advance of themeeting, detailing changes since thepublication of the original report.
It was noted that Councillor Lesley Alexander would not take part in the discussion and voting for this item as she had not been present at the start of Public Forum.
The representative of the Head of Development Management introduced the report as follows:-
1. The application was for the removal of 3 existing hoarding advertisement signs and installation of 2 illuminated digital advertisements on support legs;
2. It was before the Committee due to the level of objections received and a split decision recommendation;
3. In 2018 delegated approval was given for digital advertising on this site;
4. It was not in a Conservation Area. The key issues assessed by officers were the impact of the proposed development on amenity and public safety and whilst taking into account the provisions of the development plan;
5. The East facing advert would be half as wide but the same height as the current board. It would sit directly behind traffic signals and did not interfere with the sight lines to the signals or junction. There was a straight approach to the advert and a driver would have sufficient time to process the advert and would not be considered to cause a significant distraction to the detriment of highway safety subject to conditions to ensure the advert did not change too frequently or exceed the luminance level;
6. The West facing advert was objected to by Transport Development management as the site was situated in the view of the traffic controlled three arm junction and the sign was situated directly behind the signal heads when viewed from east bound approach. Buses merge with the general traffic after the bus stop and the impacts of a driver being distracted and not noticing a bus merging in front of them could be severe;
7. In conclusion officers had no objection to the east facing sign and recommended approval but objected to the west facing sign for the reason of highway safety and recommended refusal.
The following points arose from questions and discussion:-
1. A previous application had been refused for the reason of visual amenity only but the Inspector did not agreed with this and upheld the appeal. It was necessary to have regard to this decision and any future appeal. Pollution Control had not given grounds to sustain refusal;
2. Councillor Fodor noted the Inspector’s findings but observed that the Council’s objective should be to produce a high level of amenity to all residences in Bristol and asked whether this should be clearer in the Local Plan. The Head of Development Management stated that there had been numerous appeals for digital advertising applications over the years and the success rate had been high in dismissal of those appeals. National guidance was strict and the Local Plan could not add more than that;
3. Councillor Fodor stated that the both directions were equally dangerous because of the bus lane and new road layout. The Transport Development Manager reported that the inbound section was fairly straight and there were more decisions to be made outbound hence the recommendation to refuse;
4. Councillor Kent raised concern regarding Condition 11 regarding the brightness of the illumination at night being the same as daytime. He was informed that Pollution Control was content with the condition and the standard approach had been applied;
5. Councillor Bradley used Bath Road often and felt there were sufficient highway dangers to warrant refusal to both boards. She observed that there was a residential block opposite and she imagined residents would not want to see such signs from their windows. It was noted that the land was not owned by BCC but by a private owner;
6. Councillor Phipps understood her concern was not a material planning one but she highlighted the damage of light pollution and damage to wildlife and suggested that such applications should be assessed more broadly on the impact of eco systems. Shew would not support approval of either board;
7. Councillor Fodor stated that the applicant had failed to provide any evidence as to why the illumination brightness should not be reduced at night and he would vote against approval;
8. Councillor Fodor was very concerned about the highway hazards both sides and these boards would make the road less safe. He was disappointed that there was not a commitment to level up amenity in the city;
9. Councillor Davies understood that officers had a robust approach to such applications and he understood their rationale and would therefore support the officer recommendations;
10. Councillor Hance would vote against the officer recommendation for the reasons of light pollution to properties on the other side of the road and the level of light pollution emitted from the boards;
11. Councillor Don Alexander would vote for the officer recommendation;
12. The Chair then moved the officer recommendation and this was seconded by Councillor Davies and on being put to the vote it was lost – 2 for, 6 against, 1 abstention. The Chair then proposed and it was seconded by Councillor Hance that the Committee was minded to refuse the application and this was subject to officers drawing up reasons for refusal as indicated by the Committee. The reasons were as follows:-
Ø road safety and in particular the layout of the road, cyclists and pedestrians,
Ø amenity view from residential building nearby and for other residences,
Ø Condition 11 – light emissions being stricter at night – attempt to tighten up to get to 100 LED illumination.
On being put to the vote it was:-
Resolved – (8 for, 1 against) - That the Committee was minded to refuse the application and this was subject to officers drawing up suggested reasons for refusal, as indicated by the Committee, that could be defended at appeal.