Battle for signs at Southwick vets ‘storm in teacup’

How the fascia sign would look
How the fascia sign would look

A VETS practice has been given support in its bid to get new signs at its Southwick surgery.

But the fact the Southwick Street property is a listed building caused difficulties at Adur Council’s planning committee last week.

Grove Lodge Veterinary Group wanted six signs in total, a banner sign and fascia sign on the building, needing separate listed building consent, plus three aluminium post signs and a car park sign.

Julie Searle, Adur councillor for Southwick Green, spoke on behalf of the group and said the veterinary practice had worked hard to improve the building since taking over the former council premises about two years ago.

“People need clear directions without dithering on this dangerous bend,” she explained.

She agreed the banner sign requested for the south side of the building was one step too far, but said the other five signs were needed to direct people to the surgery, car park and entrance door.

Architect James Breckell said: “This application has become something of a storm in a teacup. There has not been a single neighbour protest. This application is for modest and low-impact signage.”

He said the group had taken a lot of pride in improving the character of the building and they should not be penalised now.

Cllr David Donaldson spoke out against the plans: “These signs are totally out of character with the building, which is 200 years old, and the signs are ultra-modern.”

But most of the committee had some sympathy for the group. They were against the banner sign and another by the ground-floor window, but gave advertising consent for the remaining four signs.

Principal planning officer Peter Barnett advised the two signs on the listed building application could not be separated, so consent was refused. The group was advised to reapply for listed buliding consent for the fascia sign on the west-facing gable.