Former Ship Inn to become Morrisons

MORRISONS has won permission for a new store – but clashed with planners over proposals for illuminated signs.

Just one sign has been allowed outside the new convenience store in Aldwick Street.

Councillors rejected the latest proposal for two externally and two internally lit signs in green and yellow for the Morrisons M Local outlet in the former Ship Inn.

Arun District Council’s development control committee voted 11-2 against the signs’ size, design, position and illumination.

They followed this by voting by the same margin in favour of one hanging sign, externally lit, like a pub sign.

The votes came after the committee granted planning approval to Morrisons to open the store.

Cllr Gillian Brown (C, Aldwick E) said: “Morrisons have to compromise with fewer and much smaller signs in keeping with the area of special character if they want to work with the community.”

The company’s proposed signs were too garish for a 200-year-old building whose car park was next to two Grade-II listed flint cottages, she said.

Cllr Michael Warden, of Aldwick Parish Council, said the signs would cause light pollution and unwanted intrusion into nearby properties.

Cllr John Charles (C, Barnham) said: “This is an area of special character and a very old building. All this advertising is totally out of character with the building and out of character with the area.”

Morrisons originally wanted six signs. Protests against the plan totalled 400, including Aldwick Parish Council.

Friends of the Ship member Terry Mullings told the committee: “The signs are too many, too large, too brightly lit and completely out of place in Aldwick village which has never before been blighted with this development. The sign on the western elevation will be 2m x 1.5m, or 6ft 4ins x 4ft 9ins. That is far too big.

“In addition, it will be internally illuminated and, therefore, clearly visible far down Aldwick Street to the west. This sign will be a light polluting eyesore and affect all the houses and flats nearby.”

He said flats opposite would be badly affected by the light from the eastern sign.

After the meeting, Friends’ chairman Roger Beam said: “This case has proved how impotent local councils are when faced by large corporations like Morrisons intent on getting their way.”

He called the attitude of county highways officers in only wanting to react to accidents ‘disgraceful’.

Sarah Atta, Morrisons’ communications manager, said: “We can now work towards delivering the new M Local convenience store and creating 20 jobs for local people. In the meantime, we will focus on addressing the concerns raised regarding our signage and work with the council to find a suitable solution.”

For more reaction and analysis see the Christmas edition of the Observer, out now.