'Are they joking?': Fury over plan to put signage around iconic Clock Tower in Skegness

A last ditch bid is being made to stop a plan for signage around the iconic Clock Tower in Skegness.

A plan has been submitted to East Lindsey District Council to display signage around the Clock Tower in Skegness.
A plan has been submitted to East Lindsey District Council to display signage around the Clock Tower in Skegness.

Residents are asking how knowledge of the plan for historic landmark, which was built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, seems to have slipped through the net.

And with only until noon today (Friday) for residents and concerned bodies submit objections, they have been calling for others to act quickly.

A link to the plans submitted to East Lindsey District Council for hoarding signs around the existing roundabout is being circulated on social media - and no-one can believe what they are reading.

Steve Green of CP Media in Halifax has applied to install four identical, non-illuminated signs measuring 1200mm wide x 500mm high, fixed into the ground using steel posts, with the distance between the ground and the bottom of the sign being approximately 350mm.

The application states: "The posts will be fixed into the ground to a depth of approximately 500mm using postcrete. Each sign will be installed facing an entrance to the roundabout and not conflict with any existing traffic street furniture."

"I thought it was an April Fool when I first saw it," said local photographer and artist John Byford, who added his objection as soon as he saw the planning application.

"The Clock Tower is a Grade 11 listed building - putting signs around it would completely change it aesthetically.

"Not only that a cyclist got killed there last year - putting signs around would affect visibility even more.

"Plans like this are why Skegness (town council) should take back control of the town. The Clock Tower was built for the people of Skegness and it is not for others to decide what happens to it."

It is understood the plan went out to 'Local Highway' and 'Lead Local Flood Authority' for consultation on March 22.

Warren Peppard, head of department at Lincolnshire County Council Highways, was one of the first to request in writing an extension to the consultation period to "provide a substantive response".

The plan has already been discussed by Skegness Town Council and Coun Danny Brookes called for more objections to be submitted to East Lindsey District Council before the deadline. "Why it isn’t more widely publicised I don’t know," he said.

Skegness Town Council objected to the plan "in the strongest terms", saying: "The plans are not in keeping with or supporting of the historic nature of the Grade 11 listed Clock Tower which sits at the centre of the roundabout.

"Signs placed on the elevated grassed area would also compromise highway safety."

Steffie Shields, of The Gardens Trust commented: "The Jubilee Clock Tower in the heart of Skegness Is an iconic and memorable feature, built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, and overlooking Tower Gardens, which are Grade II on Historic England's Register of Parks and Gardens.

"The Register records: "Throughout this development Jenkins never lost sight of the special importance in the overall scheme of the foreshore of the Clock Tower.

"When the pier was finally lost to the sea in 1984, the Clock Tower assumed an even greater importance.

"Built in 1899 by Edmund Winter of Liverpool to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, it remains the town's most notable landmark.

"Hence, LGT consider any signage on the surrounding roundabout would be inappropriate and a distracting eye-sore, harmful to the views of both the landmark Jubilee Clock Tower and Tower Gardens.

"Even small signs such portrayed in the photograph including in the application are nevertheless ugly and distracting to the town's important heritage feature and the wider Tower Gardens setting. "Therefore, Lincolnshire Gardens Trust object to this proposal."

Jan Allen of The Historic Environment Team at Lincolnshire County Council said: "No archaeological input required, however I support the Conservation Officer's comments relating to the harm to setting of this important listed building."

Resident Ian Miller, of Park Avenue, said: "Normal roundabouts OK. But this roundabout has a Grade 11 listed structure on it."

East Lindsey's Historic Environment Officer Emilie Wales commented: "The proposal includes free standing signs set away from the tower on the grass surround.

"These do not cause direct harm to the tower but do affect its setting.

"This could be seen as a distraction especially when viewed up close, the level of harm reducing as you travel away from the LB. Less than substantial but with no public benefit to outweigh."

The planning application number is S/153/00507/21. To comment visit the East Lindsey District Council website here.