A CONTROVERSIAL advertisement sign on the edge of Bellway Homes’ Elphinstone development has been granted planning permission after an appeal to the Scottish Ministers.

Bellway Homes was twice rejected retrospective planning permission for the giant sign – which measures 9.15m wide and 3m high, and is supported by aluminium posts 6.5m in height – by East Lothian Council’s planners.

The sign, which was erected last July on the edge of the company’s Elfenne Gardens development, was first rejected planning permission in October, and again in December following a resubmission.

Planners labelled the sign “dominant, intrusive and out of place” in its current location.

However, an appeal to Scottish Ministers in March will now see the sign staying.

READ MOREBellway Homes appeal to Scottish Ministers for permission for sign

The sign was approved under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (Scotland) Regulations 1984 Act, which limits the exercise of the powers of control of advertisements solely to the interests of amenity and public safety.

The Scottish Government Reporter assigned to the case found that the sign did not pose a public safety risk and that, because the sign was “seen against a background of the ongoing house building”, it did not have an adverse impact on amenity.

They said: “At my site inspection, I noted that the only significant public views of the sign are from the north travelling south towards Elphinstone from Tranent on the B6414. It is positioned on the edge of woodland about 70m from the road alongside a native hedgerow but standing above it.

“Apart from the 20mph speed restriction signs next to the roadside, there were no other significant signs in the immediate vicinity.

“The appellant contends that because the sign is seen against a background of the ongoing house building, it does not have an adverse impact on amenity. The council disagrees and considers that it has no visual association with the housing development and as a result appears isolated and incongruous.

“I have noted the objections of local residents regarding the sign being obtrusive, but it is positioned at an oblique angle to the rear and north of their properties and is screened by mature vegetation. I am unable to take into account those representations relating to lack of consultation, noise or the adequacy of other signage.

“I conclude that the proposal at this location would not be contrary to the interests of amenity or public safety.

“I have considered all matters raised in the appeal submissions but there are none which would lead me to alter my conclusion.”

The granting of permission will conclude on April 26, 2026, or on completion of sale of the last property to be erected on the land of the housing development to which the advertisement relates (phase one of the development), whichever is sooner.

Councillor Lee-Anne Menzies, ward member for the area, has been vocal in her opposition to the sign.

She said the decision was disappointing but an important part of democracy.

She said: “I think having someone like the Scottish Ministers is important for being non-biased. It’s purely a legal decision and, if our objections do not meet the legal requirements, then that is fair enough.

“Of course it is disappointing – I wanted the sign gone – but at least now we have a final decision.

“Hopefully Bellway, and other developers, learn from this that they can’t just throw signs up without planning permission and expect people to just accept it.”

Bellway declined to comment.