Residents at Camelsdale raised their voices in protest at the appearance of a large advertising board on the picturesque Shottermill Ponds roundabout on the outskirts of the village.
It was put there by West Sussex County Council to sell advertising space at that very spot.
The payment for the space would include the opportunity ‘to enhance’ the roundabout, by grass cutting (mainly done at the moment by the local geese), sign cleaning, litter picking, and appropriate planting for which locals are querying the need.
The county has employed Keegan Ford Sponsorship (www.sponsorthisroundabout), a private company based in Hastings, to sell advertising on roundabouts throughout the county, amounting to a total of 177.
But few can already be as pretty as the one at Camelsdale and not in need of any enhancement.
It is in a conservation area and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, within a few yards of six Grade II listed buildings, two of which form the backdrop to the ponds and the roundabout, and it is bounded by areas of National Trust land.
If the ‘space’ is sold, the purchaser would have the right to erect three large formal signs up to 5ft long by 2ft high, one by each entrance on to the roundabout, and tagged with the WSCC logo.
People living nearby claim not only would they detract from the appearance of the ponds, but also disturb drivers’ concentration as they reached the busy roundabout.
Local resident Penny Young declared: “Not only will these signs be an eyesore, but they will be directly contrary to the county council’s own policy to reduce street clutter in the form of unnecessary signage.
“The aim of this roundabout scheme is not, as claimed, to deliver enhancement to the street scene – it is simply cash for clutter.”
Mrs Young said she hoped any business contemplating advertising on the roundabout realised it risked gaining a reputation not for enhancing the environment, but for despoiling an already beautiful area.
“There are many other roundabouts in more urban areas which would benefit, but not this one,” she insisted.
Mark Barfoot, managing director of Keegan Ford Sponsorship, said he was aware of the daffodils on the roundabout and had asked the county council to liaise further with Lynchmere Parish Council to see if the latter had a view on the level of enhancement.
Sylvia McCallum, chairman of the parish council, told the Observer: “There was universal agreement at the council meeting that any level of advertising or different planting would not be beneficial.”
The advertising board has now been removed.