Pub company comes out fighting to keep controversial cuppa sign

High Flyer, Ely

High Flyer, Ely. - Credit: High Flyer

The High Flyer has put ‘Britishness’ at the heart of its appeal against enforcement action by East Cambridgeshire District Council.  

Pub owners – Great British Inns - is appealing to the Planning Inspectorate to be allowed to keep its promotional “rolled polystyrene” three metre coffee cup outside of its Ely pub.  

“We are proud of our family friendly establishments that serve traditional British fayre cooked from fresh ingredients at very competitive prices,” it says. 

And they point out that before they acquired the High Flyer it had been a commercial failure.  

The company prides itself on taking on failed establishments which often come with a “history of disorder”. 

As with the High Flyer, their objective is to turn them into “community assets that are quiet, respectable and orderly.   

“We are proud of our British heritage, so this permeates all of our brand values and is consistent with the interiors of our establishments, our merchandising and brand promotions.  

Most Read

“It is also a driver of where we choose to locate our establishments‐ hence our choice of The High Flyer and Ely for our portfolio” 

The High Flyer says the coffee mug is intended to be “slightly iconoclastic but tastefully presented more as art than commerce‐ albeit we acknowledge that it is there for a purpose”.   

Set in the context of a “beautifully presented exterior” the company says it is confident residents will be proud of what they can see and what the pub has become.  

Rejecting council claims of the mug not being unique but simply generic material to attract customers, the High Flyer says that’s hardly the point. 

“A wide array of large-scale generic adverts can be seen in the centre of Ely,” it says. “The mug is something a bit different which is nevertheless finished to a high standard of design”. 

And dismissing suggests of wear and tear, British Inns says in would not be in their interest to allow its appearance to degrade.  

The giant cuppa was acquired off E-Bay but originally commissioned by Network Rail in 2014. 

It was given an Alice in Wonderland make-over.  

East Cambs Council was alerted and hand delivered a five-page enforcement order – wrapping individual sheets around the giant cuppa. 

No date for a decision on the appeal has yet been made.