Bellway Homes signs advertising the launch of their new development in Horwich were fitted to lampposts in front of poppies ahead of Remembrance Sunday.Unbelievably, plc housebuilder Bellway Homes sullied the memory of the fallen and showed complete disrespect by putting up, in all probability, illegal advertising signage over Remembrance poppies. The poppies having been tied to a number of lampposts on Chorley New Road, Horwich near Bolton, to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Amazingly, Bellway’s fly-posting contractor must employed knuckle-dragging idiots, who took it upon themselves to fit Bellway’s marketing signage over the Remembrance poppies not once, but many times. In fact Bellway confirmed: “When we were made aware that the poppies had been covered by our development signage boards, we immediately sought to rectify the situation and they were removed as a matter of urgency by our own staff who worked late into the evening to take them down.”
Yes that long! Despite this, Bellway’s “own staff” missed at least one. Steven Winward, who saw the images on social media, spotted one remaining on a lamppost near the Beehive roundabout told The Bolton News:
“I went last night about 9pm to check myself because it had really annoyed me after seeing the effort people had gone to put poppies and memorial stuff up and they’d still missed one on the Beehive roundabout. So I went to grab my ladders and snips and took it down to make a point. It’s 100 years and it was so disrespectful. I was fuming.”
Adding insult to public outrage, councillor Marie Brady criticised the public by saying she was not happy with the way the situation was dealt with and that the images should not have been posted on social media and instead, they should have been reported to the town council or the local branch of the British Legion. Cllr Brady told The Bolton News: “We didn’t want people going out on ladders on a wet and windy evening to take them down.”
Did Bellway Homes obtain planning permission or permission from the local Highway Authority or Electricity North West as these signs were placed on highway land?
Responding to the criticism, Bellway CEO Jason Honeyman replied on Facebook:
“Please be assured there was no intention to insult anyone our signage contractors made a mistake, we are all deeply embarrassed and upset by the matter”
A mistake? Apparently Bellway CEO is incapable of recognising what was a deliberate, intentional, idiotic action, certainly not a mistake. The only mistake being Bellway Homes appointing these contractors to fit advertising signs to the publicly-owned street furniture in the first place!
A spokesman for Bellway Homes told The Bolton News:
“We are deeply embarrassed by the appointed contractor’s lack of respect and sincerely apologise for the offence that this caused to the local community in Horwich”
“We have the utmost respect for Armistice Day and for our military forces, and Bellway is currently supporting the Royal British Legion across the business.
“We could never have imagined that our signage contractor would cover the poppies with the marketing boards. This was a disrespectful mistake and one that we corrected as soon as possible.
“We are working with the contractor to ensure that nothing of this nature should happen again, either for us or for another of their clients.”
So amazingly Bellway Homes are still intending to use this contractor! So what sanctions if any, have Bellway imposed. Most people would have torn up any contract and not paid the contractor after the damage this has done to Bellway Homes and further sullied the image of the whole industry.
This has to be a new low for the housebuilding industry which would appear to stop at nothing if there is an inclining of saving money and greater profit involved.
There are strict rules and clear guidelines as to what temporary signage is permitted and under which circumstances.
The MHCLG “Guide for Advertisers” states:
“All outdoor advertisements must comply with ﬁve ‘standard conditions’. Which include: “have the permission of the owner of the site on which they are displayed (this includes the Highway Authority if the sign is to be placed on highway land”
From page 10 onwards, it lists 14 classes none of which would appear to apply to the signage Bellway erected meaning it could be classed as a deemed consent. Page 30 states:
“Any form of ﬂy-posting (that is, displaying an advertisement without consent) is an offence which is immediately open to prosecution, or to the removal or obliteration of any ﬂy-posting material if the district council or London borough council decide to take remedial action against ﬂy-posting in their area. In the case of a placard or poster, if the material identiﬁes the advertiser displaying it, the Council must give two days’ written notice of the intention to remove or obliterate it. This advance notice gives the advertiser the opportunity to contest the Council’s proposed actions, but if the advertiser is not identiﬁed a placard or poster may be immediately removed or obliterated.”
Housebuilders nationally, continue to run roughshod over signage rules, especially for permitted temporary directional signage in particular this rule: “no sign may continue to be displayed after development of the housebuilding site is completed; or for more than two years” (see page 24)
and for flags (sites of 11-100 houses may have only 2 flags and flag poles should be less than 4.6 metres high -see page 26).