'I want my sign back'

'Sir - It saddens me greatly that my local council would prefer to serve me notice of potential prosecution rather than support me as a local, small independent business - all for the sake of a harmless and unobtrusive directional sign...'

Henley Standard ~ 10th September 2010

'Sir, - It saddens me greatly that my local Council would prefer to serve me notice of potential prosecution, rather than support me as a local, small independent business… all for the sake of a harmless and un-obtrusive directional sign?

Even more surprising is their reason; stating "it is detrimental to road safety".

Ironically, road safety was in fact my main consideration and the reason why I began to put a sign out in the first place. Like The Lamb at Satwell, I too am invisible to anybody driving by and I felt my separate directional sign served an important purpose. Passing trade is also important as I’m not in a visible high street location, but like the Herb Farm, people seek me out.

Numerous Clients told me that I needed a sign and were forever saying how lost they’d been around the country lanes as a result of me not having one.

Thus, with road safety in mind I purposefully designed my sign to be weighted so that even in a hurricane, there’s no risk of it ever blowing into the road or being a hazard. The last thing I would wish for is to cause a road traffic accident due to my sign.

In additional consideration to fellow local residents and councils, I made the effort to bring in my (very heavy) sign every single day, without fail, for three years. This meant it was out for only 6.5 hours a day during my business hours of 10.00am – 4.30pm, Monday – Saturday.

It’s clearly not even the case that if I start doing it then "the rest will follow", as three years on there’s not 17 signs outside Manor Farm and I have tried my utmost not to make the village or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty look unsightly.

The sign did not cause any visual obstruction and was not on a pedestrian right of way or the road.

Furthermore, a Councillor Official who told me recently: "If your business relies upon having a sign on the road, then it’s not much of a business then is it?" I may be a young businesswoman, working hard to help our economy, local community and causes, but I find this somewhat concerning, unnecessary and unsupportive.

I’d prefer to look up to the council for their help and support. It’s such a shame in these times that people cannot be more accommodating considering other more pressing issues.

I simply wanted to help disgruntled Clients confused as to why I had no sign and from continually getting lost.

However, I do sincerely apologise to my Local Councillors, fellow Local Residents, my Landlord and passersby, for any offense or detrimental effect I’ve caused by having my sign and I have since removed it to avoid my prosecution.

I would welcome comments: please contact me via www.studiogalleryuk.com.

Yours Faithfully,
Miss Cj Holding
The Studio Gallery, Manor Farm, Rotherfield Peppard.