Anger over plans for 15ft signs in South Shields town centre

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Plans to install two new huge digital signs in South Shields town centre have come under fire by a frustrated councillor.

South Tyneside Council wants to place 15ft-high illuminated advertising signs on both sides of the Metro Bridge in King Street, South Shields.

The advertising sign in Leam Lane, Jarrow.

The advertising sign in Leam Lane, Jarrow.

The council is seeking permission for the signs from its own planning committee.

The move follows a controversial 10ft by 20ft sign being installed on the A194 Leam Lane, approaching Whitemare Pool roundabout in Jarrow last year.

This was done in partnership with the local authority’s project partner Kong Outdoor.

Coun Lee Hughes, of the Putting People First party, slated the original display over fears it could be a distraction for drivers using the 70mph road.

Coun Lee Hughes.

Coun Lee Hughes.

He is now demanding to know how many more signs will be installed across the borough and how much the councilis making from them.

Council bosses refuse to say how much revenue is being generated, however, saying that information is “commercially sensitive”.

They also refuse to say how much the displays cost, or who is footing the bill.

Coun Hughes said: “When is this going to end? This is a seaside borough not Times Square in New York.

“We already have one monstrosity greeting drivers on the way into South Tyneside, something I believe is a dangerous distraction for drivers.

“Now there are plans for two more displays in the heart of the town centre.

“I’d love to know how much money they actually make from these eyesores and who is actually paying for them.

“I wish they’d spend more effort and cash repairing the public footpaths than erecting more of these things.”

The planning application state the sing will be held up by poles which will sit in line with the existing bollards on King Street - allowing permitted traffic to pass unrestricted.

It added: “Multiple advertisements will be shown and this will change on a daily basis. Council messages will also be displayed.

“Adverts are shown on a 10-second rotation.

“Adverts will be displayed from 6am to 2am. When adverts are not shown, screen will be blank.”

*In recent weeks there had been confusion over the Leam Lane sign as it had been switched off.

Council bosses said the display was blank due to maintenance work. It is now back on.

Comments can be made on the King Street plans until March 6 by searching for application ‘ST/1155/16/ADV’ on www.southtyneside.gov.uk.