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Monthly Archives: May 2010

June is a month rich in flavours and events, we will see the peak of the asparagus, new potato, strawberry and watercress seasons. Fathers Day, Henley Regatta, Midsummer’s Day, Royal Ascot and Wimbledon all occur during this warm and sunny month. June is full of fresh produce and it is always worth ensuring you start the month with plenty of free storage space in fridge, freezer and larder. Vegetables in season are: asparagus, aubergine, broad beans, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese leaves, courgettes, cucumber, fennel, globe artichokes, green beans, lettuce, mangetout, peas, potatoes, radishes, samphire, sorrel, spinach, spring onions, tomatoes, turnips and watercress. Fruits in season are: bananas, cherries, gooseberries, grapes, melons, raspberries and strawberries. Seafood’s in season are: crab, crawfish, haddock, herring, lobster, mackerel, prawns, salmon, sardines, sea bream, sea trout, shrimps, squid and whitebait. Meat in season this month is lamb.

The installation of Flags/banners and Bracket Mounts on properties within Market Street, Hexham, Northumberland.

An open letter to:

Mr R Stewart,
Senior Monitoring and Enforcement Officer,
Planning Department,
Old Grammar School,
Hallgate,
Hexham.

The specific question asked in my letter of 22 April 2010 was concerning the bracket mount attached to 4a Market Street, Hexham, which is not the subject of any planning application. I fail to see why the council would await any decision relating to any other bracket mounts, before taking action against the one attached at this address. Either an application should be made for listed buildings consent or the bracket should be removed.

The advertising banners/flags have been in position for almost a year. Many were not reinstated in January 2010. I have been informed that this was because the occupiers of those business had no wish to breach regulations and so be liable to prosecution.

Businesses which chose to reinstate the banners after removal of the Christmas trees did so in the culpable knowledge that doing so was illegal.

Initially the authorities slow response to my complaint was due to a high workload. Subsequently the decision not to proceed with any enforcement action was due to the ‘intense media scrutiny’ the issue had received. Next the decision to allow the advertising banners to remain was as a result of an agreement reached with traders on November 3rd 2009. However, no action was forthcoming when traders reneged on this agreement in January 2010. Then no action was taken because the planning department had received retrospective applications for the associated bracket mounts from traders. Now the situation remains ongoing due to errors with these applications.

The council should be reminded that these applications are for the affixing of bracket/mounts and not for the display of advertising banner/flags.

You describe the flag display as being ‘an integral aspect of the presence of the mounts’. This surprises me. I would expect the applicants to claim that these advertising banners are vital and fundamental, not the planning authority. This view prejudges applications yet to be made. To sugest that no enforcement action is being taken, further to your letter of 7 October 2009, because council is awaiting the outcome of the bracket/mount applications is puzzling.

Some advertising banners continue to be displayed despite the traders being well aware that doing so is an offence. They have wilfully continued to breach regulations and the law. They have taken a rebellious stance when contacted concerning this issue. The local authority has a duty to enforce building regulations. Unauthorised works to a listed building and the unauthorised display of advertisements may involve a criminal offence so this is no trivial matter. No applications have been made concerning the display of advertising banners along Market Street, indeed why would traders bother to make applications if these flags are being allowed to remain illegally without any action being taken against them? Are local planning authorities not required to exercise their powers under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007?

It is accepted that the authority must consider commercial issues and business development, but it should also take into account the determined and continuing disregard for legislation shown by members of the Market Street Traders Association.

While agreeing that the flag display would appear to be an integral aspect of the flag pole mount applications, is important to remember also that in some instances these mounts were fitted illegally, and remain in breach of legislation until retrospective permission is granted. It is important to remember that these applications also stressed that the primary purpose of the mounts is for the display of Christmas trees, not advertising banners.

I would recommend any individual or group within Tynedale wishing to display advertising or promotional flags/banners, to do so without first seeking the relevant permissions from the planning authority. Simply install them illegally. It takes such a long time for council to respond, why ask first? No advantage in that.

This is perhaps the finest of months for seasonal produce. Beginning with the ritual of washing your face in the dew of the first day as well as the ceremonial maypole, May offers us two spring holidays, fresh young vegetables, succulent fruits and crunchy bright salads. What could be better than eating produce self picked that morning? Vegetables in season are: asparagus, broad beans, broccoli, courgettes, cucumbers, Jersey Royals, lettuce, mange tout, morels, peas, radishes, samphire, sorrel, spinach, spring onions, tomatoes and watercress. Fruits in season include: bananas, elderflowers, gooseberries, loquats, pineapples and rhubarb. Seafoods in season are: crab, crawfish, haddock, lobster, mackerel, prawns, salmon, sea trout, shrimp, squid and whitebait. Meat in season is: spring chickens and lamb.