Large illuminated digital advertising sign on Bath Road, Totterdown

Bristol City Council Development Control Committee B – 12 February 2020 – look set to approve one large illuminated digital advertising sign on Bath Road below Totterdown. Some details of the report are below and a link to the full report is here:

1904821A – Plot Of Land Fronting Former 164 – 188 Bath Road Totterdown

Plot Of Land Fronting Former 164 – 188 Bath Road Totterdown Bristol BS4 3EF

Removal of the 3 existing hoarding advertisement signs, and installation of 2 illuminated digital advertisements on support legs.

The site is on Bath Road (A4). There are 3 ‘paper and paste’ hoarding adverts at the site. The last previous known use of the site was car sales. The site is immediately adjacent to the west bound bus lane and bus stop on the approach to the traffic light controlled three arm Bath Road/ Totterdown Bridge Junction. Opposite the site is an east bound bus stop after which buses immediately merge into general traffic. There are advisory cycle lanes in both directions. Also opposite is a piece of vacant land where planning permission has recently been granted for a mixed use development comprising 152 residential flats, and 418sqm office (B1(a)) floorspace (18/04620/F). Development has not commenced. There is a sharp increase in topography at the rear of the site, atop which is a wooded area.

This application is being reported to Committee due to significant public interest and a split decision recommendation.

The application site is located within South East Bristol, in the ward of Windmill Hill.

Part 1, Regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 outlines that a local planning authority shall exercise its powers under these Regulations in the interests of amenity and public safety, taking into account: the provisions of the development plan (so far as they are material) and any other relevant factors. As such, the key issues in the report concern the impact of the proposed development on amenity and public safety.

In relation to impact on amenity it is considered that given the site’s location on a transport corridor; outside of a Conservation Area; lack of inter-visibility with and or distance from designated heritage assets; and relationship with existing dwellings the proposed advertisements would have an acceptable impact on the amenity of the area and the local context.

In relation to public safety, the application has been considered in detail by the Council’s Transport Development Management (TDM) Team. Transport Officers object to the west facing advert on grounds that the design (digital display showing static images in sequence) and siting has the potential to distract east bound road users as 1) they approach the Bath Road/Totterdown Bridge junction traffic lights where the advert would be directly behind and in the site line of the traffic lights and 2) they negotiate the point after the junction where east bound buses merge with general traffic. This distraction could result in reduced road user perception of changing traffic light signals or road users failing to notice a bus merging in front of them, with potentially severe consequences.

There is no public safety objection to the east facing advert.

Therefore, a split decision is recommended; refusal of the west facing advert on public safety
grounds, and approval of the east facing advert.