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Piano row council hits wrong note, says MP
5:50pm Thursday 20th September 2012 in Evesham
A MUSIC business engaged in a running battle to erect a signpost directing customers to its site has been threatened with a £2,500 fine.
Vale Pianos at Throckmorton, near Pershore, has been trying to get official signage for eight years as it is based about a mile off the main A44 road. The business has been backed by MP Peter Luff who said the letter detailing the prospect of a fine sent by Wychavon District Council , was the last straw.
Linda Lowe, owner of the shop, said she needed help rather than opposition. “It goes back to 2004,” said Mrs Lowe. “Because our business has grown, and our customers now come from a wide area, we need to let people know where we are.”
The business is unable to have a fixed brown sign as it is not a tourist destination. It initially had an A-board at the end of the lane but this was deemed unsafe, so the business took out insurance.
But the signs were still removed by Worcestershire County Council Highways department so a small sign was attached to a post. Mrs Lowe has now received a letter warning her any future breaches could result in a £75 fine, which if contested, could end up costing £2,500.
“It seems to be an ongoing battle,” said Mrs Lowe. “We were told we could apply for a sign in somebody’s field but that is untidy. There are better things they could do in a recession.”
Peter Luff MP, said: “The prosecution threat was the final straw. The councils have failed to support them – and are now actually attacking them.”
Worcestershire County Council said the signs had been removed following complaints or for safety reasons, but said it would be looking into business signage countywide.
Phil Merrick, head of community development at Wychavon District Council, said: “We appreciate the difficulty Vale Pianos have being located so far from the main road, but this signage is not legal where it is. “We’ll work with Vale Pianos on finding a suitable alternative and will do all we can to support the business.”