Posted: Tue 12th Mar 2024

Planners surprised as Welsh Government overrules decision on Ebbw Vale advertising board /

COUNCILLORS are surprised that a Welsh Government planning inspector has overruled Blaenau Gwent planners who refused permission for a digital advertising board in Ebbw Vale.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Planning committee on Thursday, March 8 councillors received a report on the successful planning appeal by Wildstone Group Limited.
In June last year Wildstone applied for planning permission to install a digital advertising hoarding at 27 Cwm Road, Waunlwyd, Ebbw Vale.
It would replace the existing advert board that has been there for 14 years.
In October, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council planners refused the proposal on highway safety issues.
Last month the planning inspector from PEDW (Planning and Environment Decisions Wales) overruled the council and awarded planning permission for the digital advertising hoarding.
Committee chairwoman, Cllr Lisa Winnett said: “Personally I agree with our highways inspector and am shocked at the turnaround.
“It did surprise me that this was granted, and I do hope there are no accidents from this advertising board as it is going to be a distraction.”
Cllr Wayne Hodgins believed that a number of similar applications for this type of digital advertising board would be received by the council soon.
Highways officer Mark Hopkins said: “This is the first one and probably more will come forward.”
He added that recommendations from highway officers would be made on a case by case basis.
Mr Hopkins said that he “disagreed” with the decision but would look at the planning inspectors report to understand how they had come to their conclusions.
Mr Hopkins said: “On future applications we would raise objections again if we feel that it could be dangerous – which is what we thought here.”
Cllr Julie Holt said that she’d driven past the site every workday for 20 years and wondered if there was anything that could be done to lessen the impact of the new board.
“It’s the actual changing of the picture that might take (drivers) attention away,” said Cllr Holt.
Development and estates service manager, Steve Smith said: “We need to keep an eye on this and see how things work out – the issue for me is about accident data.”
“The whole point of our argument is was that the advert might introduce the danger and cause accidents.
“The historical situation for me is only of limited relevance.”
Councillors noted the report. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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