Businessman considered closing his tea room after council forced him to take down roadside signs

JUST five weeks after opening a new tea room in Wisbech, businessman Michael Day has been forced to consider closure, because a council has ordered him to take down his roadside signs.

JUST five weeks after opening a tea room in Wisbech businessman Michael Day has been forced to consider closure because Fenland Council ordered him to remove roadside signs.

A council spokesman said: “It is our duty as an authority to seek the removal of inappropriate, unauthorised advertisements. That is an ongoing process across the district.”

Mr Day, who runs the Orchard Tea Room as part of his orchard on Redmoor Lane with his wife Carol, said: “We will definitely lose custom because the signs had to come down, and I even considered shutting the gate.

“Everything was going really well until now. But we have been told we have no consent for our moveable sign. Ninety per cent of our trade comes from passing traffic. I employ two people there and so have decided to keep going for the time being due to a lot of encouragement from customers.”

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Mr Day said: “Lots of other businesses have also been told to take down their signs.

“I have had some signs up for the farm shop for 20 years and all of a sudden they say to take them down. I am now applying to replace them with brown tourist signs.”

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He added: “It is a really lovely peaceful spot. My father started selling fruit at the gate and that turned into a shop 20 years ago. A lot of visitors were asking to use our toilets and have a cup of tea so we felt there was a definite need for the tea room.”

The council spokesman added: “We will always advise the owners on the legal requirements and where possible we will negotiate with them to help them go through the necessary process to seek authorisation for any signs they wish to display.”

Last week Council Leader Alan Melton promised a review of enforcement action against all local businesses displaying signs.

“We must allow businesses to advertise their location and nature of business in an aesthetically pleasing way,” he said. “We must also take into account road safety issues.”

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