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Lichfield District Council has hit back at criticism after planning chiefs told a hairdressing shop to take down its sign.
The DJ & Ward Hairdressing salon on Tamworth Street was ordered to remove their logo from the exterior walls after planners said it “adversely affects the character and appearance of the Grade II Listed Building on which it is displayed”.
The decision led to criticism from a number of quarters, with comments on LichfieldLive describing the decision-makers as “jobsworths” and the removal notice as “madness”.
However, Cllr Alan White, Lichfield District Council’s cabinet member for development, rejected claims that such decisions were making life difficult for small companies.
“Far from not supporting businesses, we work very closely with city traders,” he said.
“We developed the recent Portas Pilot application, publish a City Speak Newsletter, and host regular meetings of the City Centre Coordination Group. We also run a programme of tourism events and activities that encourage thousands of shoppers into the city every year.
“The council also allocated £50,000 of high street innovation monies to the city centre to deliver a range of initiatives to support traders over the coming months.
“That said, we cannot allow businesses to break the law, which is what the hairdressing salon have done by putting up a sign on a Grade II listed building without first getting approval.
“Listed building consent is required for any alterations on a Grade II listed building, including signage, and it is a criminal offence to carry out any works without permission.”
Critics had also pointed to other stores in the city with imposing signage, such as the large Tesco store at the rear of the Tamworth Street salon and the Poundstretcher outlet opposite.
However, Cllr White insisted the location of the DJ & Ward Hairdressing shop within the Lichfield City Conservation Area was a key factor.
“We understand it must be very frustrating when other nearby businesses have large signs on their buildings,” he told LichfieldLive. “However occupiers in unlisted buildings in the city centre may not need advertising consent, or where a sign is historic these are allowed to remain.
“With regards to Tesco, it does not not lie within the Conservation Area and so the restrictions on signage are less stringent, and although Poundstretcher is within a Conservation Area, it is part of a modern shopping precinct.
“Greenhill chip shop is not a listed building and The Lotus House was given permission for their sign in 1990.”