A “LARGE” advertising hoarding for a Borders gym will need to be removed after a government planning reporter backed an assertion that it was a “threat to road safety”.

The hoarding for Conrad Campbell’s Unit 8 Gym in Tweedbank was installed on a gable wall in Hall Street, Galashiels, without the submission of a planning application to the local authority and it attracted criticism from a rival gym owner.

Scottish Borders Council’s planning department later refused a retrospective application, stating: “The advertisement would represent a threat to road safety and would, as a result, impact adversely on public safety at this location.

“The advertisement would not relate well to the location at which it is displayed, or be in keeping with the character of the building to which it is attached, and would contribute to unsightly clutter, thereby having an adverse impact on the amenity of the surrounding area.”

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Now Andrew Sikes, a Scottish Government planning reporter, has denied approval for the sign following a site visit to the location. In a decision notice issued at the weekend, Mr Sikes agreed with the Borders planning department that the sign is harmful to both amenity and road safety.

He says: “In my assessment, while simple in design and production, the advertisement is large, inappropriately positioned high on the gable end of a residential property and sited in a prominent location close to a principal road. As such, I consider the advertisement obtrusive. Neither does the advert relate to the location at which it is being displayed. Moreover, the street in which it is located is residential in character and, in the vicinity of the appeal site, free of advertising. While there are advertisements in the wider area these are restricted to retail and commercial properties and relate directly to the location at which they are being displayed. Taking these factors together, I agree with the council that the advertisement would be harmful to the character of the building, the amenity of Hall Street and the wider area.”

A supporting statement from Mr Campbell said: “The purpose of the sign installation at this location is to increase awareness of the gym’s presence to those residing and working within the central and west side of Galashiels. The gym currently has over 250 members and I’m trying to further increase membership, offering its facilities to everyone in Galashiels and the surrounding areas.”