Businessman preparing for legal fight over ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ sign

PUBLISHED: 15:35 05 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:36 06 October 2018

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The "Bollocks to Brexit" sign above Pimlico Plumbers (Photograph: Pimlico Plumbers)

Archant

A businessman has refused to remove a giant “Bollocks to Brexit” poster from above his premises.

Charlie Mullins, who owns Pimlico Plumbers, has accused Lambeth council of trying to stifle freedom of speech when it contacted him asking to remove the sign.

He has said that the council had received complaints from those passing by the business near Waterloo station, and because it was unrelated to his business, he would have to apply for planning permission to continue displaying it.

In a blog post Mullins said: “There are all sorts of freedom of speech issues here as well, but I’m just so livid that a bunch of petty local officials are trying to tell me what’s good for my business that I can’t even focus on that part of it. The sign is staying up and that’s that.”

He added: “Brexit will be a national disaster if we sit back and let it happen, and I for one will not stand by and let the UK sleepwalk into a nightmare without putting up a fight!”

In a television interview he said that Lambeth council should “stick to sweeping the roads.”

“Is it really offensive? Years ago clergymen used the word describing other clergymen talking rubbish in church. The Sex Pistols had a court case on it, and they won the court case on it.”

The millionaire previously donated to the Conservative party, but since the EU referendum has been a supporter of the Lib Dems and the anti-Brexit movement.

Lambeth council said that it is an offence to display the sign without permission under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

In an email it said a “as the sign is not specifically related to the business of Pimlico Plumbers and is well in excess of the size limits, the sign does not benefit from deemed consent and will therefore either need to be removed ASAP or an application for advert consent submitted”.

In a statement the council told The New European that it was not the content of the sign that was of concern.

It said: “Lambeth council has received a number of complaints from the public about the language used on this sign. However, it must be stressed that the content of the advert is not controlled by the council and is a matter for the Advertising Standards Authority.

“As an aside, we are considering whether or not the physical advertisement requires advertisement consent under planning controls. As part of this process, we contacted the company setting out the normal rules and options available to them. For example, if the sign does not have ‘deemed consent’, the options would be to remove it or submit an application to retain it. We have asked the company to confirm their position.

“The planning-related advertising legislation is complex and adverts can be displayed without the need for the council’s consent, subject to various conditions and limitations. If this is the case there is no planning action that can be taken.”

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