Going round in circles over roundabout ads

Peter and Craig Danson who have been trying unsuccessfully for three years to advertise on the Ovangle Road roundabout too the matter into their own hands on Wednesday and erected the signs themselves.
Peter and Craig Danson who have been trying unsuccessfully for three years to advertise on the Ovangle Road roundabout too the matter into their own hands on Wednesday and erected the signs themselves.
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WHEN Peter Danson wanted to raise the profile of his business, he thought advertising boards on roundabouts could be the answer.

But Mr Danson, owner of Hornby Post Office and Tearooms, which also has an apartment to let, says he has been driven round the bend by three years of knock-backs.

He has now taken matters into his own hands by nailing adverts for his business and those of his son and daughter-in-law over existing advertising boards on the roundabout at the junction of Morecambe Road and Ovangle Road.

The adverts he has covered pre-date a July 2009 agreement between highways authority Lancashire County Council and advertising company Marketing Force and are no longer being paid for.

After that agreement was signed, planning authority Lancaster City Council refused several planning applications by Marketing Force to place signs on roundabouts, claiming they could distract drivers.

Since then, Mr Danson, 58, has hit a brick wall in his frequent inquiries about advertising at roundabouts, including the one on Morecambe Road and the A6 roundabout near Galgate.

Mr Danson says he is paying for his three unauthorised boards – which also advertise his son Craig’s Garstang business C Danson Building Contractors and his daughter-in-law’s The Retreat Hair and Beauty in Longridge – by making £50 donations to St John’s Hospice in Lancaster and Macmillan Cancer Support.

“I was told by the marketing company that they could deal with sponsoring roundabouts in any other areas of the county like Preston and Leyland but not in Lancaster,” said Mr Danson.

“The county council said they had been unable to reach an agreement with the city council planning department about the type and design of the signs.

“This could have brought in thousands of pounds or revenue at a time when councils are making cuts – all because the planning department cannot get its act together.”

Advertising on roundabouts can be sold for anything between £2,500 and £4,500 per year, and in 2011/12 County Hall raised £120,000 through roundabout advertising.

The cash is re-invested back into the highway network and the county council says that it checks that roundabouts are safe for signing before including them in a scheme.

Its assistant director of strategic network management, Rick Hayton, said: “The county council has an agreement with a company who act as our agents to secure, market and collect income from highway sponsorship sites throughout the county. In many cases it is deemed necessary for sponsorship signs to receive advertising consent from the local planning authority, and this can prove problematic.”

A spokesman added that signs pre-dating the agreement with Marketing Force had been left in place because removing the poles only to have to re-instate them once an agreement had been reached with the city council could be an “unnecessary cost”.

Mark Cassidy, the city council’s assistant head of regeneration and planning, said: “Since 2009, in the main, display advertisements proposed by virtue of their size, height and siting at busy and complex junctions have been considered as additional distraction for drivers and other road users.”

He added that general advice had been given to Lancashire County Council regarding roundabout advertisements.