By Gareth Overton
A Devon hotelier who advertised meals on a roadside billboard for 11 years faces a fine after the High Court found him guilty of placing an advertisement there without local authority consent.
Anthony Jarrad, who runs the Riverside Hotel in Bideford, advertised cream teas and specials on a 3ft-high board on a public footpath from 1986 until Easter 1997.
Last October, when prosecuted by Torridge Council under section 224(3) of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act, he successfully argued before Bideford magistrates that he was not guilty of an offence because he had used the board for more than 10 years without any action being taken. But in the High Court, Lord Justice Pill and Mr Justice Gage ruled that the 10-year defence did not apply in this type of case.
Timothy Corner, appearing for the council, told the court that, even if the 10-year rule did apply to advertisements, "each time the board was used, the different message created a different advertisement". The magistrates had earlier ruled that the regular use of the word "specials" meant it was a continuous display throughout the 11-year period.
The High Court ordered local magistrates to convict Jarrad as charged, and Corner estimated that he could face a fine of several hundred pounds.