How do you define ‘excessive flags’? Staffordshire Borough Council seems to have a positive view on this. Something along the lines of: if you’re a business and you erect 41 flagpoles outside your premises, you’ll have to take 38 of them down.
That was the dilemma that faced the Stafford-based business of Network Automotives when they installed the flag ads around their Shrewsbury Road premises, before putting in a retrospective planning application to keep them. The company had received complaints from customers saying that their premises were difficult to find, so this was their solution.
But Ward Councilor Chris Baron disagreed. His committee said of the flags: “The erection of 41 signs for one business in a residential area is grossly excessive. The 33 flagpole signs would also have a visually cluttered appearance which would be exacerbated by their prominent position and especially to views from passing railway commuters and from the railway bridge on Wolverhampton Road.” Planning officers recommended approving three of the signs and committee members agreed unanimously.
Meanwhile, as we were researching this story, we discovered that just down the road, in Stone, a family that wanted to fly a Jolly Roger flag for their son’s birthday party fell foul of the very same council. They had to pay £75 for ‘proper planning permission for it’. Staffordshire Borough Council obviously have a thing about flags, as you can clearly see in this photo of their HQ at Riverside – not a single flag in sight.