'Garish' stick of rock man banned from Weston-super-Mare

Rockshop, Weston-super-Mare
Image caption The council said "it appears very garish, even in this seaside context"

A 17ft (5.2 m) inflatable stick of rock man has been banned from outside a Somerset shop for being too "garish".

Pete Swaysland, owner of the Rock Shop in Weston-super-Mare, was told to remove the advertisement after applying for retrospective planning permission.

North Somerset Council said it refused consent on the grounds "it appears very garish, even in this seaside context".

Mr Swaysland said the decision was unfair and said he would lodge an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.

The pink rock man had been sited on a flat roof above the shop on Royal Parade in the town for four months before Mr Swaysland was told he needed planning permission for it.

But despite Weston Town Council having no objections, North Somerset Council refused consent because of "its height, siting, design and colours".

The council said: "It will be detrimental to the appearance of the existing building and the visual amenity of the surrounding area.

"This is exacerbated by the propensity of inflatable adverts to sway or move in windy conditions which will further draw attention to it and detract from the attractive architecture behind."

'Undermine regeneration'

Mr Swaysland, who has run the shop for 23-years, said he was "left reeling" by the decision.

"I thought the rock man would be a fun way to attract customers and it proved successful while it was up for a few hours a day, until the council told me to take it down, he said.

"They stated that they have invested money upgrading the Pier Square area of Weston and feel the rock man will 'undermine the public investment in the regeneration of the area'.

"In other words they don't think it will look pretty enough to fit in with their seafront enhancements.

"With North Somerset Council overriding Weston Town Council's approval and such poor grounds for refusal, I believe I have a strong case for appeal and hope I will be treated more fairly."

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said: "It would be inappropriate for us to comment while an appeal is under way."

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