Benfleet residents vow to sue Essex County Council over monster road sign

The view from David Stojkin's home in Hornbeams, Benfleet

The view from David Stojkin's home in Hornbeams, Benfleet

First published in 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.

A string of residents in Hornbeams, Benfleet, may pursue legal action against Essex County Council over the “obtrusive” roadsign across the A130 leading up to the Sadlers Farm roundabout.

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.”

Comments (14)

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9:46am Tue 8 Jan 13

Rich"Carol says...

I like it, and I think it looks lovley. Cant people find something else to moan about more important. They will want compensation next !
I like it, and I think it looks lovley. Cant people find something else to moan about more important. They will want compensation next ! Rich"Carol
  • Score: -1

9:57am Tue 8 Jan 13

J_blond says...

Firstly (geek alert) The Enterprise didn't land. It crashed once though...

So if they want it lower, then they can use the analagy - a lorry crashed through my house with a sign stuck to its cab like the starship Enterprise...

If you live by a busy road, you have to put up with the consequences. I don't spend a lot of time staring out of my windows endlessly at night, why do these people?
Firstly (geek alert) The Enterprise didn't land. It crashed once though... So if they want it lower, then they can use the analagy - a lorry crashed through my house with a sign stuck to its cab like the starship Enterprise... If you live by a busy road, you have to put up with the consequences. I don't spend a lot of time staring out of my windows endlessly at night, why do these people? J_blond
  • Score: 0

10:09am Tue 8 Jan 13

Leighdweller says...

I would be more angered by the idiot blocking the path with his car, personally.

I'm not sure I would agree with Mr Stojkin's assertion that they are sitting pretty either.
I would be more angered by the idiot blocking the path with his car, personally. I'm not sure I would agree with Mr Stojkin's assertion that they are sitting pretty either. Leighdweller
  • Score: 1

10:10am Tue 8 Jan 13

Elephantman2 says...

Nice to see people are able to empathise with others! I can understand why people are so angry; this road is a new development and teh sign is clealry an intrusion. Nice to see that the smart a@ses at Essex CC point to planning; that's all well and good but occasionally you would hope that the council would work in the best interests of the local residents rather than just the road users. ECC would do themselves a favour if they just fixed the problem.
Nice to see people are able to empathise with others! I can understand why people are so angry; this road is a new development and teh sign is clealry an intrusion. Nice to see that the smart a@ses at Essex CC point to planning; that's all well and good but occasionally you would hope that the council would work in the best interests of the local residents rather than just the road users. ECC would do themselves a favour if they just fixed the problem. Elephantman2
  • Score: 1

10:25am Tue 8 Jan 13

Brunning999 says...

Sue for light pollution that's a joke! It is no different to street lights on any main road.

The right of 'Ancients lights rule' might be useful?
Sue for light pollution that's a joke! It is no different to street lights on any main road. The right of 'Ancients lights rule' might be useful? Brunning999
  • Score: 0

10:54am Tue 8 Jan 13

marshman says...

A nice block of flats would hide it.
A nice block of flats would hide it. marshman
  • Score: 1

10:58am Tue 8 Jan 13

Barry Bas says...

marshman wrote:
A nice block of flats would hide it.
Wait until spring, the leaves on the trees in front will hide it.
[quote][p][bold]marshman[/bold] wrote: A nice block of flats would hide it.[/p][/quote]Wait until spring, the leaves on the trees in front will hide it. Barry Bas
  • Score: 1

11:20am Tue 8 Jan 13

emcee says...

Brunning999 wrote:
Sue for light pollution that's a joke! It is no different to street lights on any main road.

The right of 'Ancients lights rule' might be useful?
Actually, the residents are correct...sort of. However, light pollution may be the wrong phrase to describe it.
If the glare from lights (in this case from headlight reflections and/or sign illumination) encroaches directly INTO their houses then, yes, they do have a case. Same rules as street lights.
Recently, I had the council put a light shield on a new street light outside my home because it's glare was shining directly into my lounge.
[quote][p][bold]Brunning999[/bold] wrote: Sue for light pollution that's a joke! It is no different to street lights on any main road. The right of 'Ancients lights rule' might be useful?[/p][/quote]Actually, the residents are correct...sort of. However, light pollution may be the wrong phrase to describe it. If the glare from lights (in this case from headlight reflections and/or sign illumination) encroaches directly INTO their houses then, yes, they do have a case. Same rules as street lights. Recently, I had the council put a light shield on a new street light outside my home because it's glare was shining directly into my lounge. emcee
  • Score: -1

12:08pm Tue 8 Jan 13

J_blond says...

The glare of car headlights reflecting off the sign? It's that high up that car headlights won't shine onto it!

So what can the council do? Remove the sign? Drivers won't know where to go. Move it back? Cost a lot of money to remove and replace the gantry a few metres. Make it smaller? Doubt they will have made it large just because...

Wow, how do people who live next to motorways cope?

And it's hardly an intrusion, as another poster has pointed out, come spring, the tree in front of the sign in the picture will obscure a large amount of it!
The glare of car headlights reflecting off the sign? It's that high up that car headlights won't shine onto it! So what can the council do? Remove the sign? Drivers won't know where to go. Move it back? Cost a lot of money to remove and replace the gantry a few metres. Make it smaller? Doubt they will have made it large just because... Wow, how do people who live next to motorways cope? And it's hardly an intrusion, as another poster has pointed out, come spring, the tree in front of the sign in the picture will obscure a large amount of it! J_blond
  • Score: 1

12:22pm Tue 8 Jan 13

iknowbetter says...

Brunning999 wrote:
Sue for light pollution that's a joke! It is no different to street lights on any main road.

The right of 'Ancients lights rule' might be useful?
What was that you said about Benfleet residents not making any noise... bl00dy Nimbies!!!!
I think they should should errect another one in Polish..
[quote][p][bold]Brunning999[/bold] wrote: Sue for light pollution that's a joke! It is no different to street lights on any main road. The right of 'Ancients lights rule' might be useful?[/p][/quote]What was that you said about Benfleet residents not making any noise... bl00dy Nimbies!!!! I think they should should errect another one in Polish.. iknowbetter
  • Score: 1

12:25pm Tue 8 Jan 13

iknowbetter says...

Has anyone reported the driver of the car in the photo for illegal parking?
Has anyone reported the driver of the car in the photo for illegal parking? iknowbetter
  • Score: 1

12:58pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Eric Whim says...

when they build all those new houses on the green belt in Benfleet maybe the moaner can move there
when they build all those new houses on the green belt in Benfleet maybe the moaner can move there Eric Whim
  • Score: 1

1:25pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Tom from Southend says...

What about the Volvo blocking the path. How do I get past with a pram without walking in the road. Is this homeowner/motorist one of the complainants?
What about the Volvo blocking the path. How do I get past with a pram without walking in the road. Is this homeowner/motorist one of the complainants? Tom from Southend
  • Score: 1

5:24pm Tue 8 Jan 13

saarfender says...

I'm going from memory here as it's too much of an effort to climb into the loft for my archives.

I recall that on the original plans for the road changes there was to be a dedicated cycle path from the Rushbottom Lane bridleway underpass to the A127. This would have opened a valuable link and saved cyclists either risking the A130 or having to make a considerable detour.

The residents of Hornbeams, in my recollection, objected to this as they didn't want cyclists at the end of their garden. These objections were upheld, and I recall that as part of the changes the road was re-aligned slightly.

As a result of the NIMBYISM, cyclists continue to have to divert up the steep hills to get to Rayliegh Weir, or head down through Basildon. Signifcant impact.

I have little sympathy for residents who moved into a house alongside a major road who now complain about aspects of that road, and part of me wonders whether that sign would even be there today had they not complained about a valuable cycle route and got the plans changed and road re-aligned.
I'm going from memory here as it's too much of an effort to climb into the loft for my archives. I recall that on the original plans for the road changes there was to be a dedicated cycle path from the Rushbottom Lane bridleway underpass to the A127. This would have opened a valuable link and saved cyclists either risking the A130 or having to make a considerable detour. The residents of Hornbeams, in my recollection, objected to this as they didn't want cyclists at the end of their garden. These objections were upheld, and I recall that as part of the changes the road was re-aligned slightly. As a result of the NIMBYISM, cyclists continue to have to divert up the steep hills to get to Rayliegh Weir, or head down through Basildon. Signifcant impact. I have little sympathy for residents who moved into a house alongside a major road who now complain about aspects of that road, and part of me wonders whether that sign would even be there today had they not complained about a valuable cycle route and got the plans changed and road re-aligned. saarfender
  • Score: 1

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