Giant billboard slammed for making city junction 'feel like Piccadilly Circus'

Green councillors, Lucy Galvin, left, and Julie Young, with the new electronic billboard at the junc

Green councillor Lucy Galvin, left, and Julie Young, with the new electronic billboard at the junction of Dereham Road with Douro Place. - Credit: Denise Bradley

A bright new commercial billboard in a busy city junction is causing concern for motorists and homeowners alike.

The electronic billboard has recently been installed at the junction of Dereham Road and Douro Place. 

Rob Smith, development director of Alight Media - the company behind the billboard - said it received planning consent from Norwich City Council. 

But city councillor Lucy Galvin (Green), who represents the Nelson ward, has described the billboard as being "more suitable for Piccadilly Circus".

The new electronic billboard at the junction of Dereham Road with Douro Place.

The new electronic billboard at the junction of Dereham Road with Douro Place. - Credit: Denise Bradley

She said: "There used to be a grassy area at that junction but that has now been ripped up and covered over with this really ugly and unpleasant billboard which is inappropriate for a city street.

"It is bright and garish. To my mind it is the first of its kind in the city. 

Green councillors, Lucy Galvin, left, and Julie Young, with the new electronic billboard at the junc

Green councillors, Lucy Galvin, left, and Julie Young, with the new electronic billboard at the junction of Dereham Road with Douro Place. - Credit: Denise Bradley

"I am concerned about the light pollution and how it can be distracting to drivers as well as the people living opposite.

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"It's a waste of land and energy." 

Community campaigner Julie Young claims she counted 12 different adverts on the billboard in two minutes.

Green councillors, Lucy Galvin, left, and Julie Young, by the rubbish left at the back of the new el

Green councillors, Lucy Galvin, left, and Julie Young, by the rubbish left at the back of the new electronic billboard at the junction of Dereham Road with Douro Place. - Credit: Denise Bradley

She added: "It's a total mess behind it and the fence and lack of gate means the area is now being used for anti-social behaviour." 

Mr Smith countered: "We have consent for everything. It replaced two old, really run down displays which were there before.

"Two have been replaced with one which looks 100 times better than it did before.

"There are hundreds all over the country like this."

But Matt White, a campaigner for Adblock Norwich, is also against the billboard due to the light pollution and impact on biodiversity. 

He also criticised the billboard promoting fast fashion which is damaging to the environment. 

The rubbish left at the back of the new electronic billboard at the junction of Dereham Road with Do

The rubbish left at the back of the new electronic billboard at the junction of Dereham Road with Douro Place. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Mr White said: "The irony is that those who live near it are the least likely to be able to afford the products on display as it is not an affluent area.

"I would not like to live opposite it. Light pollution is bad for mental health and biodiversity." 

Matt White, a campaigner for Adblock Norwich 

Matt White, a campaigner for Adblock Norwich - Credit: Matt White

Elliott Whitaker, manager of the Medusa Juice vape shop opposite the billboard said he had no objection, adding: "A billboard is designed to be seen and to cause distraction."

The new electronic billboard at the junction of Dereham Road with Douro Place.

The new electronic billboard at the junction of Dereham Road with Douro Place. - Credit: Denise Bradley

A spokeswoman for the city council said: “The application for this digital advertisement was received last year, and underwent negotiations aimed at reducing distractions for drivers and visual impact.

"The consent is subject to conditions which limit the level of illumination at different times of day and prevent moving images. The site has been historically used for advertising and previously used to house two billboards, rather than the current one.

"All requests for electronic billboards have to be granted advertising consent, and each application is judged on its merits.”