PLANNING authorities are not giving independent businesses a chance, according to one Petworth trader.
A row has erupted between Jane Walton, who owns 1Hundred in East Street, and Chichester District Council, over the illuminated signs outside her shop.
Jane set up her business in the Grade II-listed Georgian building last November, but has now been told she must apply for planning permission for her signs, or face losing them.
This follows a complaint made through Petworth Town Council.
“The biggest problem with this building is it is a Georgian house and people don’t realise it is a shop without the lit signage,” said Jane.
“We are on a dangerous, blind corner and someone will get killed on it one day, there is no doubt about it. These lights help visibility.
“Just before Christmas, the planning officer turned up unannounced and said somebody had complained through the town council.
“I counted ten signs and eight lights on the restaurant opposite, I have no beef with them, yet I only have five signs and five lights. “
And Jane has criticised planners for ‘predetermining’ the decision.
“I have until March 31 to put in a planning application, but have already been told it will not be successful and the application has been predetermined.
“This whole affair has been totally and utterly illogical and against the promotion of new businesses in Petworth.
“They have held a gun to my head.
“There is no compromise and the council is not interested that we are employing one worker and bringing people to the town.
“This is now a business issue, not just a planning issue, and is why independent shops struggle to become successful – they are not allowed to be.
“Local councils do not understand how businesses operate and force them to do things they do not wish to do.”