PLANNERS at East Dorset have refused permission for the advertising signs which have appeared on a number of roundabouts in the district.
At Tuesday's planning committee meeting, members followed their officers' recommendation to reject the plans submitted retrospectively by marketing company Market Force Ltd on behalf of Dorset County Council for the signs on the Martins Drive and Haskins roundabouts at Ferndown, one at Verwood and two at Corfe Mullen.
Dorset County Council highways officer Steve Howard explained the countywide scheme was to earn advertising revenue which could be used to better maintain the roundabouts. He added that there was no highway safety risk in the signs, generally around one metre wide and a metre high, including the posts they stood on.
But planning officers and members disagreed, saying that in many cases the roundabouts were too small to accommodate the number of signs in addition to directional signs already in place and restricted drivers' view.
They also objected on grounds of 'clutter' and being out of keeping with their environment.
Corfe Mullen Parish Council had objected strongly to the county council apparently undermining its scheme to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee by landscaping its Cogdean and Windgreen roundabouts in their parish and erecting a mill wheel on one and a Roman pillar on the other, a project which was grant-funded by East Dorset District Council.
Mr Howard confirmed the county's response that the scheme could go ahead, and that following discussion with the parish council they had agreed to use the smallest advertising signs available there.
But the planning committee approved only the signs erected on three of four roundabouts at Verwood on condition that they were moved under the chevron signs already on the roundabouts, on the roundabouts at Tricketts Cross and Turbary in Ferndown and at Ashley Heath, Ringwood, described as very large and in a very industrial area.
Mr Howard gave notice that the county council would appeal against the refusal on behalf of their contractor, and the rejected signs would remain in situ.
He said planning authorities in Weymouth & Portland and in Purbeck had already approved 14 sites in each of their districts, and only Christchurch had refused any.
But he added that discussions were ongoing with West Dorset and North Dorset, where a number of signs have been rejected by officers under delegated powers.