Councillors on Gillingham Town Council’s planning committed have voted overwhelmingly against plans by Domino’s Pizza for lit shop signs over their new store on the High Street.
The popular pizza chain wants to erect two illuminated signs on the outside of the store it is opening on the High Street’s junction with School Road.
But Gillingham Town Council has now formally opposed the plans on the grounds that the signs – which would be lit from 11am to 11pm every day – would create a light disturbance to residents on both School Road and the High Street.
Councillor Mark Walden raised the issue of the impact of the lights in the evening and at night on bedtime routines for local families. ‘I have concerns about that,’ he said.
Councillor Roger Weeks said he was also worried about the level of ‘disturbance’ for residents. ‘Even if it’s not flashing, a really bright Domino’s sign straight outside your front room window is something that I would be very uncomfortable at saying is okay,’ he told fellow councillors at the planning meeting last Monday.
And he said it was not just residents on School Road who would potentially be affected.
‘I think we need to look at this and soften the lights for the benefit of the people living on the High Street. Otherwise there’s a licence to do whatever,’ he warned. ‘And the lights on Domino’s up in Shaftesbury are quite bright.’
Councillor Weeks raised further concerns about the height of the signs on the School Road side of the building. ‘There is a worry that some people might be able to touch the sign….about whether it could be touched or interfered with by a very tall school child.’
Cuncillors also said the design of the signs was ‘considered to be out of character with the High Street’.
And Councillor Fiona Cullen wondered about the closeness of the pizza outlet’s signs to local schools. ‘It’s referred to as an advertisement. Aren’t there rules and regulations as to how close to a school you can advertise fast food?’ she asked.
Councillors voted six to zero to recommend refusing the application, with one abstention. The application will now go to planning authority Dorset Council for their decision.
Domino’s Pizza has been asked for its reaction.