I am delighted to announce the happy outcome of a public outcry backed up by a bunch of councillors sticking their necks out, which for me is the reason why “we were angry but had no choice” is not an acceptable outcome of a planning meeting.
Remember the ghastly illuminated signs that Frankie and Bennys put up on their eaterie on the pier without permission, adding insult to injury on the horrid buildings that mar the classic Canaletto view? Much hoo-ha was made about it by The Greenwich Society and individuals (I like to think Phantophiles did our bit here too…) and the council planning department said ‘no’ to the grudging retrospective planning application, even though it was based on aesthetic grounds rather than the more easily-fought health & safety chestnut.
F&Bs ignored the ruling, then appealed but the Greenwich councillors, to their credit, held out.
F&Bs appealed again, this time to the Planning Inspectorate who, to be honest, don’t have a great track record in standing up for Greenwich’s interests.
But I am delighted to announce that they HAVE decided that “the signage is excessive and goes beyond what I consider to be reasonably needed to attract and direct people to the premises” and “detracts from the visual amenity of the area and in fact cause harm to the character and appearance of the Greenwich Park CA, the setting of the listed buildings and cause substantial harm to the Maritime Greenwich WHS.”
On Tuesday the appeal was dismissed.
This, for me, brings up echoes of the issue we were discussing just a few days ago, where Beds & Bars didn’t bother to get planning permission to turn Greenwich Playhouse into Greenwich Flophouse (whilst wailing to the rooftops that they absolutely weren’t going to do that – how could we possibly think such evil of them?), cashing in on the Olympic bonanza then retrospectively applying for planning permission.
In the comments several councillors expressed their anger at Bed & Bars, but gave planning permission because they claimed they didn’t have any choice – it would only be appealed and turned over and cost the council money.
As Paul noted: “If you have “no choice” in these matters, there really isn’t any point in having a planning board, is there?”
But hey – today, let us celebrate small success. We can’t do anything about the dreary pier building or the so-so eateries inside it – but thanks to a lot of shouting and Greenwich councillors who had the guts to say ‘no’ – we at least don’t need to look at neon signs plonked in front of the Old Royal Naval College and Canaletto’s easel.
Unless, of course, F&Bs just ignore the ruling as per last time…