Camera Centre granted permission for Kodak sign in conservation area

Councillors have given the Camera Centre the go-ahead to mount a new Kodak advertisement board at the back of its Commercial Street premises despite advice from officials to throw out the plans.

The shop already displays similar signs at the front and side of the shop, but today’s planning board was told the additional signage would impact on the character and the amenity of the building, which forms part of the town’s conservation area.

A report before members stated: “The premises already exhibits two existing stock modern signs that are primarily ‘product advertisements’, which are located above the shop frontage (situated on Commercial Street) and on its southern elevation (situated on Irvine Place).

“Given that there are already two commercial adverts in place, there is considered to be no justification for the construction of a further advert on the rear of the building in terms of the operation of the applicant’s business.”

However councillors were having none of it.

They agreed the new sign would help attract trade from people coming off cruise ships – often with cameras in tow – and wandering along the Esplanade looking for somewhere to buy equipment for their kit.

Iris Hawkins was the first to voice her support for the idea of a new sign being mounted on the rear wall.

She said the council was hardly in a strong position to deny the Camera Centre its sign if the shop already had another two elsewhere on the building.

“The precedent’s been set twice before. I can’t see the problem,” she said.

Caroline Miller said regular visits from cruise ships meant there was as much trade coming from the Esplanade as from the street. The new sign would give the shop the chance to draw in new customers.

She pointed to Harry’s Department store, which had put up a big sign on its Esplanade side.

“If we didn’t have shops we’d be in a pretty dire situation,” she said.

Laura Baisley drew comparisons between the Camera Centre and the Thule Bar, which was recently told its distinctive red “T” sign was deemed to be against planning policy for the conservation area.

“It’s not the same sort of thing as a T-sign. Kodak is a world-wide symbol. Visitors often do want an extra memory card or something.”

Disagreeing with the recommendation to refuse the application, she moved that it, in fact, be allowed. She was seconded by Mrs Hawkins.

Chairman Frank Robertson said it was a shame a more “iconic” symbol could not be used instead, such as the boot symbol on the street’s old Goodlad and Goodlad premises.

Head of planning Iain McDiarmid said it had been hoped something like that could have been adopted in this case.

Bill Manson said the boot symbol was certainly iconic, but insisted it had its limitations.

“Ironically, it’s a signpost for a building where you can’t buy a single shoe from,” he said.


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