"Garish" sign prompts high street outrage in Wanstead

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: BBQ Express BBQ Express

THE installation of a "garish" take-away shop sign without planning permission has spoiled the distinct look of a conservation area, it is claimed.

BBQ Express is due to open shortly in a unit previously occupied by Chicken Spot in High Street, Wanstead, and the owner has placed a large, multi-coloured sign on the shop front. But it is not to everyone's liking and there are calls for the council to take swift action.

The Wanstead Society, a group committed to preserving the area's heritage, has put in a formal objection to Redbridge council.

Member Geoff Horsnell said: "I thought I was in Las Vegas when I saw it. It is a bit garish for my liking and not in keeping with the high street.

"The Chicken Spot put up their shop front before the high street was declared a conservation area, so if it is the same owner he could simply argue he was replacing like for like.

"I think my list of shops on the high street in breach of planning is six or seven. This is the problem once one shop gets away with it, others will try."

Brian Page, 69, of New Wanstead, said: "I walked past it wearing dark glasses - it's far too big and bright.

"The council will no doubt come down on them like a tonne of bricks. They are just asking for trouble.

"You can't pull a fast one in Wanstead - our heritage is too important."

Father-of-two Mark Samuels, 38, of Wellington Road, said: "It's pretty ironic the shop front is opposite the high street signs that stress the conservation area.

"I think one of the benefits of living round here is that we have a lovely high street and we should maintain that."

Cllr Alex Wilson, of the regional planning committee west, confirmed the shop does not have planning permission for the sign.

He said: "I express my disappointment that the work appears to have been carried out without consent.

"I am aware that officers are on the case and hope that the correct procedures are followed."

A visit to the site by council enforcement officers is set to take place in the near future.

A council spokesman said: "We have received three complaints about the sign at BBQ Express and we are currently looking into this.

"No application for advertisement consent has been received.

"To date, there have been eight investigations about alleged breaches of planning control in High Street."

The Guardian has been unable to contact the shopowner.

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Comments (17)

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5:15pm Tue 9 Oct 12

Cornbeefur says...

This seems yest another example of the beginning of the end for this once lovely High Street. There are enough take-aways, and ramshackle shops bringing it down.. There was even bowls of fruits being sold out of the shop that was once Threshers, that stopped but it has a garish computer generated stick on window poster obliterating the entire shop front.

There is an eye-sore of a shop selling old washing machines (who wants to turn that into a take-away) a derelict looking Pet Shop.

Some of the Shop Keepers should get on the tube to Leyton and look at some of the shop fronts near the old Town Hall. They have been restored to look like the original.

I do hope that the Council act fast to make them remove that dreadful 'BBQ' sign.

Whilst talking, I noticed an Ice Cream Emporium open up just opposite this BBQ in what used to be a Furniture Shop. How were they allowed that with all the shooting and trouble they had up in South Woodford?
This seems yest another example of the beginning of the end for this once lovely High Street. There are enough take-aways, and ramshackle shops bringing it down.. There was even bowls of fruits being sold out of the shop that was once Threshers, that stopped but it has a garish computer generated stick on window poster obliterating the entire shop front. There is an eye-sore of a shop selling old washing machines (who wants to turn that into a take-away) a derelict looking Pet Shop. Some of the Shop Keepers should get on the tube to Leyton and look at some of the shop fronts near the old Town Hall. They have been restored to look like the original. I do hope that the Council act fast to make them remove that dreadful 'BBQ' sign. Whilst talking, I noticed an Ice Cream Emporium open up just opposite this BBQ in what used to be a Furniture Shop. How were they allowed that with all the shooting and trouble they had up in South Woodford? Cornbeefur

9:48pm Tue 9 Oct 12

ig9blog says...

Las Vegas? Having to wear sunglasses to walk past it? Do me a favour.

The sign is ugly and probably should be removed but ridiculous hyperbole just detracts from the actual story and has no place in it.
Las Vegas? Having to wear sunglasses to walk past it? Do me a favour. The sign is ugly and probably should be removed but ridiculous hyperbole just detracts from the actual story and has no place in it. ig9blog

12:54am Wed 10 Oct 12

Cornbeefur says...

ig9blog wrote:
Las Vegas? Having to wear sunglasses to walk past it? Do me a favour.

The sign is ugly and probably should be removed but ridiculous hyperbole just detracts from the actual story and has no place in it.
I agree with your point. Maybe he had to wear Cranberry tinted Spectacles like in Walthamstow?
[quote][p][bold]ig9blog[/bold] wrote: Las Vegas? Having to wear sunglasses to walk past it? Do me a favour. The sign is ugly and probably should be removed but ridiculous hyperbole just detracts from the actual story and has no place in it.[/p][/quote]I agree with your point. Maybe he had to wear Cranberry tinted Spectacles like in Walthamstow? Cornbeefur

9:33am Wed 10 Oct 12

princessjasmine says...

I saw it at the weekend. It's not on and it needs to go. What started off with a sign for "refurbishment" clearly has not been adhered. It is a conservation area and so I was shocked to see this sign had been hoarded. I am contacting the council myself to see what they plan to do about it.
I saw it at the weekend. It's not on and it needs to go. What started off with a sign for "refurbishment" clearly has not been adhered. It is a conservation area and so I was shocked to see this sign had been hoarded. I am contacting the council myself to see what they plan to do about it. princessjasmine

10:48am Wed 10 Oct 12

LakeBreeze says...

Before I say anything, just for the record I'm intensely interested in preserving the character of Wanstead and the High Street. I'm on the side of people who want to be very careful about what happens to both the function and the appearance of this lovely area.

Having said that....I feel there is an over-reaction to this sign. It's not exactly Vegas. No flashing lights, naked women, no neon.

Is it elegant? Not very. But it's appropriate for the kind of business it's above, and is a fun graphic.

Again, I am one of those who care about what happens here. But this is like a case of not picking your battles. It looks rather ordinary and I don't see the horror that everyone's seeing.
Before I say anything, just for the record I'm intensely interested in preserving the character of Wanstead and the High Street. I'm on the side of people who want to be very careful about what happens to both the function and the appearance of this lovely area. Having said that....I feel there is an over-reaction to this sign. It's not exactly Vegas. No flashing lights, naked women, no neon. Is it elegant? Not very. But it's appropriate for the kind of business it's above, and is a fun graphic. Again, I am one of those who care about what happens here. But this is like a case of not picking your battles. It looks rather ordinary and I don't see the horror that everyone's seeing. LakeBreeze

10:50am Wed 10 Oct 12

LakeBreeze says...

And by the way, Cornbeefur, you will inevitably quote me and proceed to attack me. I don't give one flaming d a m n in hell, babe and I won't be bothering to read your foaming-at-the-mouth drivel.

This is my opinion and I have a right to express it.

This is hysteria over nothing.
And by the way, Cornbeefur, you will inevitably quote me and proceed to attack me. I don't give one flaming d a m n in hell, babe and I won't be bothering to read your foaming-at-the-mouth drivel. This is my opinion and I have a right to express it. This is hysteria over nothing. LakeBreeze

10:54am Wed 10 Oct 12

LakeBreeze says...

As for the comment about the pet shop -- leave them alone. That is a fine business run by hardworking people, and the shop is a lively and well-used part of the community. It is a vital and very much NOT "derelict" business.

Who cares if their sign is a little worse for wear? Maybe they prioritise their customers and other business concerns to give good service, over trivial things like how the sign is doing...
As for the comment about the pet shop -- leave them alone. That is a fine business run by hardworking people, and the shop is a lively and well-used part of the community. It is a vital and very much NOT "derelict" business. Who cares if their sign is a little worse for wear? Maybe they prioritise their customers and other business concerns to give good service, over trivial things like how the sign is doing... LakeBreeze

11:14am Wed 10 Oct 12

spcdust says...

Agree, the pet shop is a proper local business and the reason it's looking rather rundown at the moment is the Freeholder of the property is currently refurbishing the adjacent building. Next year the pet shop moves into the newly refurbished property allowing the freeholder to refurbish that building.

Whilst the Takeaway sign may not be to everyones taste the ridiculous over reaction to it and The Wanstead Society objecting to almost every change on Wanstead High Street does become rather tiresome. As someone else stated, pick your battles or risk undermining your whole argument.
Agree, the pet shop is a proper local business and the reason it's looking rather rundown at the moment is the Freeholder of the property is currently refurbishing the adjacent building. Next year the pet shop moves into the newly refurbished property allowing the freeholder to refurbish that building. Whilst the Takeaway sign may not be to everyones taste the ridiculous over reaction to it and The Wanstead Society objecting to almost every change on Wanstead High Street does become rather tiresome. As someone else stated, pick your battles or risk undermining your whole argument. spcdust

12:01pm Wed 10 Oct 12

LakeBreeze says...

spcdust:
"Pick your battles or risk undermining your whole argument."


Yes, this, exactly.

While nobody would want to let the street become a parade of crazy signage, what would it be like to force every business to look drab and uniform and boring?

I care about the conservation area and I agree that there are many things that would be entirely inappropriate and worth fighting against.

But this sign is not the worst thing possible, and people need to calm down.
[quote] spcdust: "Pick your battles or risk undermining your whole argument."[/quote] Yes, this, exactly. While nobody would want to let the street become a parade of crazy signage, what would it be like to force every business to look drab and uniform and boring? I care about the conservation area and I agree that there are many things that would be entirely inappropriate and worth fighting against. But this sign is not the worst thing possible, and people need to calm down. LakeBreeze

12:37pm Wed 10 Oct 12

chignault says...

Oh please. Conservation area? This is Wanstead, London E11! It is a High Road full of shops, supermarkets and restaurants.
Long gone is the day of quaint grocers and sweet shops.
Yes the shopowner should have obtained consent for this sign , but what else do they want?
"Ye Olde BBQ Express" instead?
Oh please. Conservation area? This is Wanstead, London E11! It is a High Road full of shops, supermarkets and restaurants. Long gone is the day of quaint grocers and sweet shops. Yes the shopowner should have obtained consent for this sign , but what else do they want? "Ye Olde BBQ Express" instead? chignault

1:44pm Wed 10 Oct 12

Cornbeefur says...

It is the broken window syndrome that must be avoided.

Once you let things 'go' and turn a blind eye, an area becomes trashy. The sign subject to this story is out of keeping with the surrounding businesses and more in keeping with Newham where anything seems to go.

I suggest that signage is extremely important in planning control.

It defines an area. If you go up Town they have strict controls.
It is the broken window syndrome that must be avoided. Once you let things 'go' and turn a blind eye, an area becomes trashy. The sign subject to this story is out of keeping with the surrounding businesses and more in keeping with Newham where anything seems to go. I suggest that signage is extremely important in planning control. It defines an area. If you go up Town they have strict controls. Cornbeefur

3:03pm Wed 10 Oct 12

spcdust says...

This sign is not that outrageous, possibly not to my personal taste but really, is this that bad? I'm guessing back in "ye olde days" (pick which period you are attempting to preserve) shop owners also tried to attract customers by their signage.
I do like Wanstead but really, it kind of needs to get over itself
This sign is not that outrageous, possibly not to my personal taste but really, is this that bad? I'm guessing back in "ye olde days" (pick which period you are attempting to preserve) shop owners also tried to attract customers by their signage. I do like Wanstead but really, it kind of needs to get over itself spcdust

3:29pm Wed 10 Oct 12

Thunderbird4 says...

To me, the place looks a little grubby, but that's no excuse to let it go further down hill. Conservation area? Are they going to conserve the three black tomb stones in the pavement?
To me, the place looks a little grubby, but that's no excuse to let it go further down hill. Conservation area? Are they going to conserve the three black tomb stones in the pavement? Thunderbird4

3:46pm Wed 10 Oct 12

Cornbeefur says...

Thunderbird4 wrote:
To me, the place looks a little grubby, but that's no excuse to let it go further down hill. Conservation area? Are they going to conserve the three black tomb stones in the pavement?
I agree, this pavement 'furniture' seems to be getting out of hand.
[quote][p][bold]Thunderbird4[/bold] wrote: To me, the place looks a little grubby, but that's no excuse to let it go further down hill. Conservation area? Are they going to conserve the three black tomb stones in the pavement?[/p][/quote]I agree, this pavement 'furniture' seems to be getting out of hand. Cornbeefur

4:29pm Wed 10 Oct 12

Robert19 says...

I don't know what the Wanstead Society is going on about. It is no worse than some, indeed better than most for that kind of shop.
I don't know what the Wanstead Society is going on about. It is no worse than some, indeed better than most for that kind of shop. Robert19

9:52am Thu 11 Oct 12

Walthamster says...

The point is that every time someone gets away with breaking the rules, it's easier for the next person to go a little further.

Walthamstow High Street is a sad example of this. Most of its shop windows are now covered by solid-metal shutters outside opening times.

Twenty years ago these weren't allowed, as they make any high street look unwelcoming after dark, and discourage an evening economy. Ironically, of course, an empty town centre encourages crime and vandalism, so you could say that's now created a need for shutters! Less intrusive open-mesh shutters would prevent robberies just as well.

But having lazily let a few shopkeepers get away with solid shutters, the planning department now has no right to stop it.

I think that's what the Wanstead Society is concerned about.
The point is that every time someone gets away with breaking the rules, it's easier for the next person to go a little further. Walthamstow High Street is a sad example of this. Most of its shop windows are now covered by solid-metal shutters outside opening times. Twenty years ago these weren't allowed, as they make any high street look unwelcoming after dark, and discourage an evening economy. Ironically, of course, an empty town centre encourages crime and vandalism, so you could say that's now created a need for shutters! Less intrusive open-mesh shutters would prevent robberies just as well. But having lazily let a few shopkeepers get away with solid shutters, the planning department now has no right to stop it. I think that's what the Wanstead Society is concerned about. Walthamster

10:15am Thu 11 Oct 12

Cornbeefur says...

Walthamster wrote:
The point is that every time someone gets away with breaking the rules, it's easier for the next person to go a little further.

Walthamstow High Street is a sad example of this. Most of its shop windows are now covered by solid-metal shutters outside opening times.

Twenty years ago these weren't allowed, as they make any high street look unwelcoming after dark, and discourage an evening economy. Ironically, of course, an empty town centre encourages crime and vandalism, so you could say that's now created a need for shutters! Less intrusive open-mesh shutters would prevent robberies just as well.

But having lazily let a few shopkeepers get away with solid shutters, the planning department now has no right to stop it.

I think that's what the Wanstead Society is concerned about.
It is the Height of the fascia board as well as the sign that is the problem.

BBQ Express is a contradiction in terms.
Food would be raw.
[quote][p][bold]Walthamster[/bold] wrote: The point is that every time someone gets away with breaking the rules, it's easier for the next person to go a little further. Walthamstow High Street is a sad example of this. Most of its shop windows are now covered by solid-metal shutters outside opening times. Twenty years ago these weren't allowed, as they make any high street look unwelcoming after dark, and discourage an evening economy. Ironically, of course, an empty town centre encourages crime and vandalism, so you could say that's now created a need for shutters! Less intrusive open-mesh shutters would prevent robberies just as well. But having lazily let a few shopkeepers get away with solid shutters, the planning department now has no right to stop it. I think that's what the Wanstead Society is concerned about.[/p][/quote]It is the Height of the fascia board as well as the sign that is the problem. BBQ Express is a contradiction in terms. Food would be raw. Cornbeefur

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