Page last updated at 10:22 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010

Bookmaker Paddy Power warned over Cheltenham sign

Paddy Power sign
The sign does not have planning permission

A bookmaker is being threatened with council action if a giant billboard bearing his name is not removed from a hillside overlooking Cheltenham.

Paddy Power had the 50ft (15m) Hollywood-style sign erected on Cleeve Hill for the Gold Cup Festival.

Tewkesbury Borough Council said the sign did not have planning permission.

The authority said it would begin proceedings on Saturday if the sign was not dismantled immediately after the racing event ends.

The Irish bookmaker said he was looking to make the sign a permanent fixture.

'Pretty excited'

"We've done a deal with the landowner now, he's agreed to let us keep the sign there permanently," he said.

"We're pretty excited about it, it's probably going to be a bit of a tourist attraction for the area.

"All the feedback I'm getting is people saying, 'well done, it looks great'.

"I haven't heard any great moans about it so I think overwhelmingly people will be in support of having it there."

The most important issue is to protect the landscape
Mella McMahon
Tewkesbury Borough Council

Mella McMahon, the council's corporate head of borough development, said: "Even on a temporary basis, it does require consent and we are pursuing that matter with the landowner.

"Our phones have been very busy and there are a lot of people extremely concerned about the impact on the landscape, even in the short term.

"It would have to go through the appropriate procedures, but in terms of a sign within an area of outstanding natural beauty, which this is, it's not considered appropriate in most circumstances.

"I think it's very unlikely that they'll be able to get consent.

"The most important issue is to protect the landscape.

"There's no real need for the sign to be at that particular site and its size has a huge impact."

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