AN AWARD-WINNING hairdresser has been left angered after East Lothian Council officials threatened to take down her salon’s new sign because it is made of the ‘wrong’ material.

Anna Mather moved her business from grade C listed premises in Gifford into a grade B listed building on Haddington High Street last year.

The switch has allowed her successful hair stylist team, who were named Scotland’s Hair and Beauty Salon of the Year, to take on larger premises as they moved into the converted George Hotel building in the centre of town.

But Ms Mather was stunned when East Lothian Council planners wrote to her to say that her shop sign, which is the same as the one she had at Gifford, would be forcibly removed in a few weeks’ time.

Ms Mather said: “I contacted planners about the sign when we moved in and was told that, because it is plastic, it is the wrong material for the building, even though the shops across the road use the same type of signs.

“We had gone to great lengths to ensure it was mounted properly to avoid having to screw it into the wall of the building and it is the same as we had at our previous salon.

“I appreciate it is a grade B listed building and am happy to meet requirements but when I asked for advice about what materials I could use they said they could not tell me.

“I have to apply for planning permission but, without knowing the material I can use, it will just be rejected and cost us money.

“Now they have written to say they are coming to forcibly remove the sign on January 25 and will charge us for the work.

“We are a new business in the town and cannot afford to have these types of expensive bills. I am astonished at how unhelpful the planners are being.”

The council denied it had been unable to advise the salon on the materials needed.

Anna Mather Colour Specialist and Hairstylist moved into the renovated George Hotel last year as one of the first new businesses in the building.

The hotel, which had lain empty for a number of years, has undergone a transformation as owners market it as a business and residential site.

It is now also home to master master confectioner Falko, who moved there from Gullane.

A council spokesperson said: “We always recommend businesses get in touch at the earliest opportunity to discuss their requirements so we can advise accordingly.

“There are clear guidelines concerning listed buildings and any breach is a criminal offence.”