‘A red rag to a bull’ - fury over National Park signs put up in Broads village
PUBLISHED: 20:30 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 20:30 14 February 2020
Enraged villagers are demanding road signs advertising the Broads National Park are taken down after the notices were branded “a red rag to a bull”.
Road signs installed in Loddon by the Broads Authority (BA) to promote the Broads as a national park have sparked an outcry over "misleading" wording.
Parish councillors unanimously agreed to demand Norfolk County Council remove the signs, which were put up two weeks ago, after they were debated at a meeting on Thursday, February 13.
District councillor Kay Mason Billig said: "Putting these signs up is like waving a red rag to a bull.
"They didn't consult us on what the sign was going to say, they stuck it up in a stupid place, and local people are very worried.
"The decision was taken to ask the county council to remove them immediately."
Ms Mason Billig added that the councillors felt they hadn't been consulted about the signs by the BA, after emails to the council's clerk went unanswered during a period where the job was vacant.
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And the lack of response meant the matter was never discussed at a public meeting.
She said the sign, on the High Bungay Road, was placed there "without our agreement" and added: "We feel it is misleading because the Broads National Park does not actually exist and the sign is placed on the boundary of the parish of Loddon, which comes under South Norfolk.
"It is not on the boundary of the Broads Authority area and is not even a directional sign like a brown sign."
John Packman, chief executive of the BA, wrote to the council before the meeting and said the signs were "intended as positive".
And a spokesperson for the authority said: "We have not yet received an official response from Loddon Parish Council. They were first given the opportunity to comment in April and again in May prior to the installation. Now, 10 months later it appears they wish to have it removed.
"Loddon is an iconic Broads location and the parish council were supportive about National Park branding as were all the county and district authorities.
"The road sign aims to benefit the community by attracting visitors, encouraging people to learn more about the Broads and supporting businesses. We will look to relocate the Loddon sign within one of the parishes that are eager to be involved in the project."
Pete Waters, of Visit Norfolk and Visit East of England, said: "We should be proud of the fact that we have a National Park in this region, one of just a handful in the whole country.
"Norfolk and Suffolk's visitor economy is worth more than £5.4bn a year and employs over 100,000 people and the Broads is a vital component of that, a unique, year-round destination that attracts all types of tourists. Being able to promote the Broads as a National Park is a massive fillip to our efforts to bring more visitors and wealth to this region."
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