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Company prosecuted for illegal advertising
A company has been prosecuted for displaying unauthorised advertisement signs fixed to a car roof parked in Midfield Way, Orpington.
Although warned he was committing an offence by displaying the signs without advertising consent, Peter Griffin, Company Director of Celluclad UPVC Systems Ltd continued to do so, contrary to Section 224(3) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended). He pleaded guilty and did not appear at Bromley Magistrates’ Court for sentencing, and was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £950. Continuing to advertise unlawfully after conviction accrues an additional daily fine or it can lead to further prosecution proceedings.
“Sometimes we’re left with no other choice but to prosecute. The council has a responsibility to ensure that, amongst other things, advertising signs don’t cause a danger by distracting drivers, causing an obstruction or spoiling the appearance of the neighbourhood and applying for planning consent is a vital part of that process” said Councillor Peter Dean, Chairman of Development Control Committee.
The court heard that in December 2015, the council received a complaint regarding a vehicle bearing an advertising sign regularly stationed on the highway in Midfield Way, Orpington. A white Ford Ka, parked close to the junction of Grovelands Road, had a wooden ‘A board’ sign fixed to the roof measuring about 1¼ metres high and one metre wide. The sign gave details of Celluclad UPVC Systems Ltd along with an arrow pointing towards the shop premises in nearby Grovelands Road.
A council planning investigations officer visited the location several times and found the car regularly parked and displaying advertising signs. A warning letter was being taped to the car window when Peter Griffin happened to drive by. He stopped and the officer advised him that he needed to submit an advert consent application for the vehicle, explaining that by continuing to display unauthorised advertisements he is committing an offence.
No application was submitted but as the vehicle was subsequently removed from the highway, the council suspended legal action. However, earlier this year the car and advertising signs reappeared at the same location, and court proceedings commenced.
It is illegal to display any advertisement without first obtaining the permission of the council as planning authority, who may advise the advertiser to apply for consent. If the advertising signs are still being displayed without planning consent, an offence is being committed and the Council may decide to prosecute under section 224 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.