Digital billboard application receives over 240 objections from local residents in Bristol

Update 15th June 2021: Following the refusal of planning permission by Bristol City Council in March 2021, billboard company JCDecaux has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate to over-turn the Council’s decision. The appeal is being dealt with through the ‘Commercial Appeals Process’. Adblock Bristol are looking into options.

Update 4th March 2021: This planning application has been rejected by the planning officers at Bristol City Council. Over 240 objections were submitted. The planning officer noted: “The proposed advertisement, by virtue of its excessive size, illuminated nature and overall design, siting and appearance would represent a prominent and incongruous, poor quality, visually intrusive addition to the townscape which will detrimentally impact upon the character and appearance of streetscene and surrounding area.” Well done to everyone who objected.

Original post25th January 2021

Advertising giant JCDecaux have applied to put a large digital advertising screen at the junction of Bedminster Down Road and Parson Street. The proposal is for the removal of four existing billboard hoarding panels and installation of one illuminated display. Over 200 Bristol residents have objected via the council website with comments about light pollution and safety concerns.

The deadline for residents to send in objections is Wednesday 27th January, with a determination expected in mid February. Any Bristol resident can object via the council website. Local group Adblock Bristol have provided a guide to making an objection.

Digital advertising screens are seen by many as unnecessary and intrusive, designed to push more and more big brand adverts at us which we cannot avoid as we go about our day. But objections make a big difference – since Adblock Bristol began, they have worked together with local residents to block 29 large billboards and 26 smaller hoardings from being erected.

One resident wrote that

The site is visible to a large number of houses in West Street and Bedminster Down Road. Because the proposal is for an illuminated sign with frequently changing images it will be very visually intrusive especially after dark. The proposal to switch off the illumination during sleeping hours does not address the problem of its intrusiveness during waking hours.”

Anna Meares, a member of Adblock Bristol, explained, “These digital advertising screens are hugely energy intensive, requiring the same amount of electricity as 11 average UK houses. Bristol has declared a climate and ecological emergency. A bright ad screen selling new cars, junk food and fast fashion is not what we need.”

Road safety is also a key concern for the area, as research shows that there have been 17 traffic accidents on that stretch of road in the last 15 years, including one fatal collision.

JCDecaux states in the application documents that, “The application site adjoins a main transport route through Bristol, which carries high volumes of traffic throughout the day and night. The fact that the site adjoins such a busy road will constant traffic flows… provides the rationale for an advertising site.”

Meares continued, “It is clear that the applicant’s motivation in installing advertising infrastructure is to target motorists, as they have selected the site due to it being a “busy traffic corridor” and the site is designed to be seen by motorists exiting the city. As the applicant cannot produce evidence to support the idea that digital advertising categorically does not contribute to road collisions, this proposed development would experiment with Bristolians’ safety.

This digital screen would pose a serious threat to the safety of local residents, would have a harmful impact on the character of the neighbourhood, and contrasts with Bristol’s climate emergency plans.”

For more information on the application and how to object, see our guide.

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