A PLANNING inspector dismissed a claim that a Shipley fast food restaurant needs a direction sign in a neighbouring town for road safety reasons.

Last year Bradford Council refused a retrospective planning application to keep an unauthorised sign at the side of Otley Road in Baildon directing people to the Shipley branch of McDonald’s.

Officers said: “There is a concern that if permitted, the signs would set a precedent for allowing other similar signage for other commercial premises which, in turn, would further worsen visual clutter along this important corridor.”

Christopher Farrell of Directional Signs lodged an appeal against that decision, claiming Bradford Council had ignored a number of other unauthorised signs and singled out the McDonald’s signage.

And he said the sign, which was half a mile from the restaurant, was needed to “give customers time to perform the necessary manoeuvres” to get to the branch.

McDonalds' unauthorised sign in Baildon is 'visual clutter' on key route - according to planning officers

However, the appeal has now been dismissed by D Child, a government appointed planning inspector.

Mr Farrell’s appeal claimed the Council had targeted McDonald’s, and was ignoring other unauthorised signs in the area.

But the inspector argued that this was not a justification for allowing the McDonald’s sign.

The sign is no longer at the site.

The appeal said: “The sign does not impact on the street scene unlike the proliferation of other signs that Bradford Council have allowed to remain in situ for several years, which directly overlook and are adjacent to the appeal site.

“Whilst I realise the appeal is for this specific sign only, it is a matter of fact that McDonald’s are singled out by the enforcement department of Bradford council.

“The appeal sign was erected on the site of an existing advertising sign indeed it is attached to one of the metal structures of that sign which was used to display adverts for a petrol station many years previously. When Bradford council were advised of this fact they refused to accept that deemed consent could be claimed.

“McDonald’s Restaurant for which this sign is required is tucked away around the corner and hard to find for first time users, the positioning of the sign makes drivers aware of the location and gives them time to perform the necessary manoeuvres to enter into the correct lane at the traffic lights adjacent to the Restaurant, which in turn enables safe entry into the restaurant.

"I urge the inspector to visit the site and witness the proliferation of other signs which have been allowed to remain for several years, and judge for him/herself that the appeal sign is indeed well presented well positioned and serves as an important tool in preserving road safety at the point of entry into McDonalds Restaurant."

The planning inspector’s report said: “There is no evidence before me that the benefits of the directional sign to highway safety justify approval.

“While I note the presence of other signs in the locality, the Council says they are unauthorised. Other signs are located differently, and, in any event, I consider that that the presence of those other advertisements does not justify the harm that would result from the display of the appeal hoarding. I consider that the proposed advertisement display would unacceptably harm the visual amenity of the area.

“I note the appellant’s concern regarding the Council’s enforcement process in relation to advertisements in the area. However, this is not a matter for this appeal which I have determined on its planning merits.”