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Benfleet residents vow to sue Essex County Council over monster road sign
9:30am Tuesday 8th January 2013 in Local News
IT looms over rooftops and bright light glares from it at night, but it’s not a spaceship, this huge roadsign has left angry neighbours wishing they could say “beam me up Scotty” to escape from it.
They claim the sign does not have planning permission, but bosses at County Hall say it isn’t needed.
David Stojkin, 66, lives in one of the homes affected and says at night the glare of car headlights reflecting off the sign, coupled with streetlights in the area, is like the “Starship Enterprise landing”.
He says a number of residents have got solicitors involved because of the blight it has brought on their lives and some people have had to buy lining for their curtains because the light is so intense at night.
They are considering suing Essex County Council for light pollution and invasion, but have been advised by lawyers that County Hall will not receive formal complaints on the matter until June.
He said: “It sticks out like a sore thumb, it’s so obtrusive it’s untrue.
“I sit down for breakfast and I see it, I go into the bedrooms and bathroom and I see it. You just can’t get away from it.
“For now we are just sitting pretty really, but we are getting advice from solicitors and are in constant touch with them.”
Mr Stojkin says two road signs were shown in the original plans for the £63million scheme to improve the notorious junction - one which is sited further towards Sadlers Farm, and another, which is the one that overlooks Hornbeams, that he said should have been installed nearer the A127.
An Essex County Council spokeswoman said: “All of the gantry signs which span the A13 and A130 were included in the planning application for the Sadlers Farm junction improvement scheme, which was granted permission in March 2008.
“Planning permission is not required to install road signs as these are covered under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2010.
“Essex County Council is aware of concerns from local residents around this particular gantry, and we are currently in discussions with our contractor about possible ways of mitigating this.”