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Signs stay in 'victory for common sense'

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

STAYING...Andy Wheeler, from Plumbits

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AN OVERJOYED boss ordered to take down 20-year-old signs from his Stafford business has won his battle to keep them in what he says is a “major victory for common sense”.


Andy Wheeler, who runs Plumbits, has been told he can keep the 10 signs on his North Walls business despite previous demands for them to be ditched.

Mr Wheeler was left bewildered last month when he was slapped with an order from Stafford Borough Council to take down the signs or submit a retrospective advertisement consent application with a fee of £110 within 14 days.

It followed a complaint from a solicitors’ firm about the size and number of signs at the site.

But the news sparked a wave of outrage from residents who rushed to sign an online petition to save the signs. A Facebook page for Plumbits was deluged with comments of support from townsfolk.

And on Tuesday Mr Wheeler received a hand-delivered letter from Stafford Borough Council, telling him he could keep the signs.

“It is a real victory for common sense,” he told the Newsletter this week.

“I am over the moon about it.

“We have been here 29 years. I started the business from nothing and just couldn’t believe it when this letter appeared from the council with no warning.

“I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support from the public. The petition has been signed by so many people. I would like to thank everyone for all their support.”

The borough council previously apologised to Mr Wheeler for not speaking to him directly but insisted it had to investigate otherwise it could face potentially costly action from the local government ombudsman if the signs breached national regulations.

In the letter to Mr Wheeler the borough council said six of the signs did not need consent as they fell within class five of the town and country planning regulations and the first four signs had been in place for more than 10 years and no longer needed permission.

In the letter development manager Jon Holmes said: “May I take this opportunity to thank you for your co-operation in this matter.”

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