Plan for a Seaburn advertising screen was rejected due to bird risk

Seaburn's Prego Bar and Eatery

For fear of disturbing protected birds, plans for a sizable digital advertising screen on Sunderland's seafront have been shelved.

Near the Prego Bar and Eatery at Seaburn, a proposed illuminated free-standing sign measuring 4 point 5 meters (14 feet) tall had been made.

The LED screen facing the A183 and the coast was to be erected, and applicant Jet Ltd had requested permission to do so.

Planners for the city council expressed concern that the sign might interfere with "bird foraging and roosting.".

The display's "bright colors and frequently changing images" were said to disturb the waders and cause a decrease in "time spent foraging, resulting in lower winter survival rates," putting turnstones and purple sandpipers in particular danger.

Authorities came to the conclusion that the plans would "likely" have a negative impact on the Ramsar wetlands site and Northumbria Coast Special Protection Area.

Library image of a purple sandpiper
One species that council planners suggested may have been impacted is the purple sandpiper.

The Stack recreation center in Seaburn already has a digital display of "similar proportions," but the council's ecologist claimed the "cumulative effects" of a second screen would have a "negative impact" on the special protection area.

Further remarks from the authority stated that it would be "obtrusive and over-dominant" and that its height and size "does not relate well" to neighboring structures.

Following consultation with Natural England, the government's advisor for the environment, the council reportedly objected to the plans as well, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The applicant has the right to appeal the council's decision to the Secretary of State.

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