Row erupts above village pub ‘unacceptable’ sign which ‘stains the landscape’ | United Kingdom | New

An award-winning pub has been involved in a row with locals around a new illuminated sign. Those who live near the Tiger Inn in Stowting, Kent, have complained that the light panel pushes back their bedtimes and interrupts their stargazing.

The gastropub – which won Kent at the 2022 Pub and Bar Awards – has now been forced to install a dimmer on the sign.

Shirley Smith, who has lived near the pub for 35 years, said: “This pub sign is intrusive, excessive and unwanted light pollution.

“It illuminates and encroaches on neighboring properties and in particular illuminates the entire front of my chalet and the six front windows as well as other areas of my house and garden.

“Its position towering over my cottage and its excessive lighting – this exposure to excessive and poorly timed artificial lighting all around me at night pushes my sleep cycle towards a later bedtime and induces other concerning health issues.”

Resident Jane Waterman said: “Several things concern me – the pub sign that I can see at night when stargazing.

“The panel light is an intrusion for me and I don’t understand why it has to be so high.

“I believe in progress and change, but not when someone thinks they have the right to do whatever they want without thinking of anyone else.

“Apparently the lady next door who has lived there for many, many years is considering selling as she can no longer cope.”

Another local, ME McColvin, said: “The light is way too bright and stays on until 12:30 a.m. The sign is a stain on the landscape.”

Samantha and Quentin Hunt – who live three doors down from the pub – added: “The overlit sign can clearly be seen lighting up the otherwise dark sky from our garden.

‘Clearly the sign is lit to a level that is totally unacceptable for a small country hamlet.’

The pub applied for retrospective planning permission in November 2021 for work which took place in May last year – six months previously – which included a new seating area surrounded by a fence and the sign.

The local area is in the E1 zone, which is designated as naturally and inherently dark.

Stowting Parish Council opposed the request, calling it “grossly inappropriate”.

He said: “The site is located within the Area of ​​Natural Beauty which is considered inherently dark.

“The very real result of this is that the sign, erected several months ago, is causing serious problems for the immediate residents and their ability to enjoy the amenities of their properties.

“It illuminates living rooms and bedrooms, the latter of which disrupts some residents’ sleep patterns on a daily basis, which is totally unacceptable and needs to be addressed.”

The pub was taken over in June 2021 by Will and Nadine Sheldon after a six-figure refurbishment.

They did not apply for planning permission for the relocated sign at the time, saying they were unaware they had to.

Mr Sheldon, Managing Director of Contemporary Pubs, said: “We applied for retrospective planning permission in November 2021, for the sign to remain in its current location.

“We think it is important for the business that the sign is positioned at the entrance to the pub.

“The location of the Tiger Inn is very rural so it is important that the business is seen as without an illuminated sign you would walk past it.

“The panel light is on a timer and is turned off before approved license hours.

“We will be installing a dimmer on the light panel later this week which will bring the candela down to 100 cd/m2, which is the recommended level. Hopefully this will also save us money on our electricity bill.”

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