St Andrews farm shop owners lose advertising signs appeal

Entrance to Balgove Larder, outside St Andrews.
Entrance to Balgove Larder, outside St Andrews.

The owners of a popular farm shop on the edges of St Andrews have lost their appeal against an enforcement notice served by Fife Council for an alleged breach of advertisement control.

The local authority had ordered the operators of the Balgove Larder Farm and Cafe, just off the A91 St Andrews to Cupar Road, to remove four advertising signs.

An appeal against the move was lodged by Henry Cheape, on behalf of the company, Strathtyrum and Fossoway Farms, but it has been dismissed by William Patterson, a Reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers.

In upholding the enforcement notice, he noted that the reasons given by the council were in the interests of road safety, with the signs by virtue of their size, scale and location considered to create a road safety issue and advertisement clutter which caused unnecessary distraction to road users in the vicinity, and in the interests of visual amenity.

Planning officials also ruled that the signs had a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the surrounding area and set an undesirable precedent in terms of the number of signs at the location.

The notice required the firm to remove the four signs and large timber supports in the vicinity of the access roadway to the premises.

Part of the appeal submissions was taken up with questioning the procedural competence of the order, including that the enforcement notice was not served as required and that the steps required by it were excessive, both of which he dismissed.

However, Mr Patterson granted the firm six weeks to comply with the order against the council’s timescale of one month after the company claimed that the specified period of compliance fell short of what should reasonably be allowed.

Mr Patterson said in his findings: ”It is apparent from the appeal papers that discussions have been taking place since October 2010 about acceptable signage for this significant rural business, which from the council’s point of view would involve standard brown ‘tourist destination’ signs.

“Patently these, if appropriately worded, could provide necessary information and directions for potential customers, without compromising amenity and road safety by being over large and discordant.”