Appeal to decide if Newport council can take down religious sign
10:20am Monday 28th January 2013 in News
A MAN has taken Newport council to a planning appeal after he was refused permission to keep an Islamic religious symbol on his house.
Mahmood Ali applied for permission to keep a sign, which includes the Islamic creed, at his house at Chepstow Road.
Planning officers refused, arguing the sign, under planning regulations, constitutes an obtrusive advertisement.
Mr Ali said the sign is not an advertisement and is simply there to bless the house.
The refusal of advertising consent will be subject to an public hearing in Newport Civic Centre on February 15.
In Arabic, the sign includes the declaration of the Islamic faith, the Islamic creed. It says: “There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger.” It is around two metres wide and 60cm in height and is made out of green lettering.
It is not lit, but Mr Ali has applied for permission to illuminate it.
Mr Ali argued that the sign’s green colour was chosen to reflect the ambience of the property’s character and its surroundings.
He said the “low voltage” lighting would only illuminate the symbols.
“The symbols are not an advertisement in any sense of the words used in daily life,” he said.
Under planning regulations, the term ‘advertisement’ has a broad meaning, and includes any word, letter, model, sign, placard, board or notice used for advertising, making an announcement or direction.
The council’s statement of case for the appeal said the sign “consists of letters and words that announce religious faith and so can be considered to be an advertisement,” and express planning consent is required.
It says the authority’s objection is on “amenity grounds only”.
The case reads: “The advertisement is prominently sited upon the host building and is also prominent within the (Kensington Place) conservation area. Its size and position on the building make it obtrusive.”
The statement said the property is domestic property and is not a mosque, where such signs might be expected.
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