A VILLAGE pub owner has branded East Riding of Yorkshire Council as being “heavy-handed” about signs promoting his business.
Andrew Frost of the St Quintin Arms in the tiny village of Harpham, off the main A614 near Bridlington, said since taking over the pub last June he has had a running battle with the authority over “A” board signs he put out on the roadside.
“We have had an absolute nightmare with this council. I was told I must remove them within seven days but I ended up getting fined £75 and had around £500 worth of boards taken away. I haven’t seen the boards since. They have taken a very heavy handed attitude over this,” said Mr Frost.
When he took over the St Quintin Arms which has its own restaurant, function room, bar and three letting rooms, like many struggling village pubs, it had been closed for seven weeks.
“I was just trying to bring it back to life and used the “A” board to let people know about Sunday lunches, our special events including Christmas activities,” said Mr Frost, 65, who pointed out the pub was not visible from the main road.
“I have seen “A” boards outside shops, cafes and plenty of other businesses, why am I being victimised?” he asked.
Mr Frost does have planning permission for three direction signs to his pub, one at the end of each of the two roads off the A614 and one half-way between them, but not giving the same detail.
To make matters worse until recently the village lost two of its highway direction signs. One was hidden by road works, the other, which is still missing, was demolished in an accident involving a police car more than two weeks ago.
This might as well be a hidden village. I even rang up and offered to have them both put back at my own cost but couldn’t get anywhere with the council,” he said.
His comments followed those last week by Bahram Shokrollahi of the Blue Bell Hotel, a few minutes away at Burton Agnes who criticised the council for its unhelpful attitude over signs and other matters. The Blue Bell had also been told to move signs or make them smaller.
The pub and restaurant went into voluntary liquidation after he had spent more than £1 million to re-open it in 2009. However, due to restructuring it is still operating and he says has a bright future.
A spokesman for East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said if the council was made aware of anyone putting a sign on the public highway, written notice is given to remove it. If it is causing an immediate danger signs can be removed and the owner informed what has happened.
“In this case he (Mr Frost) was sent two letters saying they must be removed. They were removed by ourselves one day short of a month from the first letter. Mr Frost has been told he can collect his signs when he wants.”
He said any signs on the public highway, were subject to the same rules unless they were on private land. Even then, some signs on private land would also be subject to planning permission.