Council takes businessman to court over advert signs

The poster at the Civic Centre
The poster at the Civic Centre

A local businessman is contesting the Lisburn and Castlereagh Council’s decision to take him to court over three signs that were erected without planning permission.

Richard Snapesaid he only knew about the case when he received a court summons last month.

Mr Snape who owns the Wooden Floor Company in Lisburn, as well as businesses in Belfast, Endinburgh, Falkirk and Glasgow was to appear before Laganside Courts on Tuesday. The case was adjourned,

Mr Snape claims the council is being ‘hypocritical’ over the sale posters which were taken down in January.

The signs were placed on a roundabout at the junction of Bentrim Road and Antrim Road, Lisburn. Another was hung at Tata Street and a third at Prince William Road, all without planning permission.

Mr Snape, who has been trading in Lisburn for over a decade claimed the three ‘sales’ signs were removed months ago.

“It is so hypocritical, as the council don’t have planning permission for several of their own banners and have been advertising everything from the Queen’s 90th Jubilee to a farmers’ market,” Mr Snape said.

“There are many businesses who put up signs, so I don’t know why they have chosen to prosecute me.”

He continued, “It’s really sad the council seems intent on stifling local businesses which have invested heavily in the area for many years.

“Our business relies on new building and development, but the message I’m getting from the business community is that they can’t get plans passed in a reasonable time, yet the council sees fit to use public funds to pursue a local business through the courts.”

A Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council spokesperson said it was reviewing banner provision. She said the council applied to the Northern Ireland Planning Service for consent to display a banner on the rotunda building at Lagan Valley Island in May, 2010, and was advised that consent was not necessary.