With icy conditions and heavy snow forecast on the roads you don't need any distractions when driving, but that's not something Laura Sandys seems to have thought of. She has put up 2 large roadside advertising boards in farmer's fields. One is on the left hand side of Canterbury Road East just before the Lord of the Manor roundabout. Turn right and go up the hill on Haine Road and there is another one on your left.
Every week I look at the planning application list we get as councillors, and I have seen nothing about this. Has planning permission been sought, or is it a case of try it on and see if I can get away with it?
Laura's not replied to my previous contact so I'll drop her a line again. These are the questions I would hope to have answered.
Do you think road safety is improved during severe weather conditions by distracting roadside adverts?
Have you applied for Planning Permission, if so when?
Has planning permission been granted for these adverts?
Who has paid for these adverts?
What is the cost of these adverts?
Whose land are the adverts on?
Have you paid the landowner, or have they donated the land?
The last 4 questions will have to be declared in due course under electoral law so in the spirit of transparency I would ask that Ms. Sandys is open about them at the earliest opportunity.
The other questions are of interest to local people and I hope Ms. Sandys will answer them as she seeks to represent the area.
As someone who has not been in the area long Ms. Sandys may be unaware of Thanet Council's hard line on these matters. I recall estate agents not being allowed to have "for sale" boards up which were charity donations advertising for a school summer fair (I think it was St. Joseph's Convent - can anybody remind me please?). I also recall a man who was using an advertising board selling plants for charity and he was ordered to stop.
The matter has been reported to Thanet Council and the relevant officers are looking into this potential breach of the law.
I hope Ms. Sandys will demonstrate rapidly that she has complied with all aspects of the law.
UPDATE 4.2.09 The Council is investigating, Laura Sandys is unavailable for comment.
UPDATE 2 5.2.09 Laura Sandys apologises unequivocally, but still leaves the signs up even though she knows this is wrong.