OBJECTOR Said Visitors Branded ‘Overly Large Pole With Union Flag’ In Gourock ‘Potentially Offensive’

11 October, 2021 | Local

A GOUROCK householder has been refused permission for a flagpole he has already put up.

Inverclyde Council officials said the flagpole in the garden of a property in Victoria Road formed an “unexpected and dominant feature on the streetscape which is incompatible with the character of the surrounding area”.

The householder told planners that he didn’t realise he needed permission when he put up the pole. He explained: “I was aware of a number of flagpoles within the area, most notably at nearby properties on Victoria Road, Barrhill Road and Tower Drive.

“Due to the number of flagpoles, I assumed, wrongly in this case, that there would be no issues with erecting one within my property.”

The planning department has now refused his retrospective application for permission, which attracted six objections from residents. Their report outlines the following concerns raised by members of the public:

— “Types of flag could cause issue as can be deemed unacceptable regarding what it represents. This could also cause disharmony amongst neighbours and the general public taking offence.”

— “Visitors to the area immediately comment on how odd and potentially offensive the overly large pole is with its Union Flag. If the owner wished to garner attention to their political persuasion, it has already succeeded and circumvented local community good will.”

— “This private property serves neither community nor public service for which a flagpole and display of national symbols would be appropriate and subject to local democratic decisions.”

— “It ruins the view from neighouring windows and decking areas. The person who has put the flag up has done it strategically to avoid ruining his own view by planting it to the side of his patio area.”

— “It is not usual in Scotland to display flags outside domestic premises and whatever flag is flown will no doubt upset or rile someone.”

The planning report states: “The flagpole forms a prominent feature within the site which contrasts with the established character of the area.”

This was because it sat forward of the established building line and also by the “unexpected nature of a six-metre-high flagpole within a domestic front garden.”

The department agreed that flagpoles are not normal outside domestic premises and added: “None of the nearby domestic properties contain flagpoles within their front gardens….the proposal forms a dominant and unexpected feature which is detrimental to the established residential amenity.”

Flags are flown at Royal Gourock Yacht Club, at Gourock Bowling Club and in the front garden of a house in Barrhill Road so it was accepted that the pole did not impact the character of the conservation area.

The report stressed that the type of flag involved was not a material planning consideration and formed no bearing on the determination of the application.

Impacts on neighbouring views were also not a planning consideration.

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