David and John Cole, owners of The Space Place in Leicester, England, have criticized the city’s planning-application process after their proposal to refurbish their self-storage facility was rejected. The £50,000 renovation at 90 Sanvey Gate would have included the addition of fencing around the parking lot and the installation of nine signs over facility windows. The application was refused on the grounds that the building would look “visually intrusive” and the signs would have a “significant detrimental impact on the appearance and character” of the structure, the source reported.
“We are trying to improve the look of a building, which was empty for a long time before we moved in, and we are being hamstrung by the planning department,” David Cole told the source. "We are trying to succeed in a difficult environment with a building whose exterior belies its state-of-the-art self-storage interior, and they are causing us a major delay.”
While David Cole said he appreciates that signs shouldn’t be added “willy-nilly,” the planning-application process lacks consistency in its rules. "They say you can't put signs of a certain size above ground level, but that's being done all over the city,” he said.
A city council spokesperson agreed the building is in need of refurbishment, but said obscuring the windows with large advertisements wouldn’t benefit the structure or the area. "This is a key regeneration area and we're working hard to improve it, with other large advertising panels recently removed from Vaughan Way,” the spokesperson said. Recent renovations include new street art, repainted fencing and flowers along A50, a major trunk road between Leicester and Warrington.
"We welcome the re-use of the building and the investment The Space Place wants to bring in, and we're sure we can work together to agree an approach that balances the needs of the firm with our plans for the area,” the council spokesperson said.
The Coles are working on a new proposal to submit to the council soon, the source reported.
The Space Place opened in Leicester in 2005. The family-owned and -operated company has a second location in Telford, England.