A BUSINESS has hit out over council orders to take down its advertising signs.
Prestige Nursing Agency relocated from Chester-le-Street to Sunderland city centre, believing it would be a boost to business.
But the firm was dealt a blow after a planning officer ordered it to take down new signs erected above its offices in Sunniside.
Now, after Sunderland City Council refused its bid for retrospective planning permission, it is mounting an appeal against the decision.
Office co-ordinator Fay Farrow, 23, from Shiney Row, said the official arrived just as sign makers had finished installing the blue hoardings.
“Just as he finished putting them up, a council worker came and said we had to take them down, because we had not asked for permission, but we had asked the landlord.
“The sign man said he didn’t have time to take them down, as they had taken four hours to put up, so he will have to come back.
“The council said the signs were too big.”
But bosses at the business, which is on the first floor of a building in Athenaeum Street, said many neighbouring firms have similar advertisements.
Fay added: “We’ve never had any indications before that any signs were not allowed. It was quite a shock.
“It’s not as if they were the biggest, because there are bigger. and it’s not as if we can put them any lower because we are not downstairs.
“We are hoping a bit of common sense will prevail, as all we are trying to do is let people know we are here, open for business and creating jobs.”
A report by council planning officers said: “The subject signs are of poor quality and of inappropriate scale and positioning in direct conflict with aforementioned Conservation Area Character Appraisal and Management Strategy guidance and in detriment to the historic fabric and character of the listed building.
“Having regard to any public benefits, it is not considered that the potential economic benefits to the business through the attraction of additional customers are sufficient to outweigh the detrimental effects set out above.”
Prestige Nursing said it will appeal over the council’s decision, which was taken by planning officers under delegated powers.