Agricultural show falls foul of council rules on advertising boards

THE organisers of a major agricultural show claim Rother District Council has banned them from displaying advertising boards promoting the event.

For the past 13 years, the Heathfield Show has set out around one hundred boards advertising the event in the hedgerows alongside main roads throughout Rother, from Ticehurst to Bexhill east to Camber.

But the event, which attracts entrants and visitors from across the Battle and Rye area, has fallen foul of planning regulations.

Nicola Magill, show secretary, said: “The pending Heathfield Show has, for the past 13 years, has been triumphantly heralded by the erection of hedgerow boards around the countryside, kindly sponsored by Freeman Forman.

“The boards have become synonymous with the show and every year the Heathfield and Walrdron rugby club do a sterling job erecting the boards throughout the Wealden and Rother District Council areas.

“In 2013, unfortunately, Rother District Council have decided that we can no longer place our boards in the hedgerows as they consider it a contravention of planning rules.”

The boards were due to go up on the first bank holiday weekend in May and be taken down immediately after the show on May 25.

Organisers are now instead planning to use trailer boards to advertise the show.

Rother District Council head of planning Tim Hickling said: “We haven’t definitively said ‘no’ to signs being put up in hedgerows to promote the Heathfield Show.

“ We are actually happy for the signs to go up, providing they meet certain criteria, and we would like to talk to the show organisers about this.

“We have no issue with signs promoting a community event, but it has been noted that some of the signs put up last year were also being used to advertise companies as well.

“Commercial advertisements breach planning restrictions if posted without specific consent.

“As long as the signs only relate to the Heathfield Show, don’t contain commercial advertising, and meet other rules around size, timing and having the permission of the landowner, we have no problem with them. We are happy to talk with organisers and provide further guidance.”