Advertising firm fights to erect billboard outside cemetery

Build Hollywood first applied to build a 6.2m x 1.6m billboard outside Edinburgh Eastern Cemetery in March.

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An advertising agency has taken its fight to erect a billboard outside an Edinburgh cemetery all the way to the Scottish Government.

London-based advertising firm Build Hollywood first applied to erect a 6.2m x 1.6m billboard outside Edinburgh Eastern Cemetery, on Piershill Terrace, in March.

The billboard would be situated to the left of a gate which leads to the main cemetery building, and in full view of mourners.

However, Edinburgh City Council planners rejected the proposals in May, saying the billboard would cause “advertisement clutter” and citing the “insensitive siting” of the billboard.

A report produced by council planning officers said: “A wall leading to a cemetery and which separates a memorial shop from Piersfield Terrace is not considered to be [a] suitable location for a small format outdoor advertising display (SFOAD).

“Accordingly, the proposal would not carefully integrate into its surroundings and demonstrates insensitive siting.”

Now, Build Hollywood has appealed the decision to the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Department (DPEA).

A planning appeal statement, submitted on behalf of Build Edinburgh by Glasgow-based consultants Paton Planning and Development, said: “We see no reference in this guidance which considers a wall leading to [a] cemetery to be an unsuitable location for a small-format display.

“Nevertheless we agree that an advertising display has the potential to be an incongruous feature if it was located close to a cemetery entrance.

“However we submit that the proposed site is of such distance from the cemetery entrance, and that the wall it would be attached to is self-evidently not part of the cemetery, that it would not intrude into the visual environment of the cemetery.

“We conclude that the proposed display would be remote from any part of the cemetery entrance which contributes to its character, would clearly be on a separate section of wall, and would not therefore be an incongruous feature in the vicinity of the cemetery entrance.”

A government reporter, acting on behalf of Scottish Ministers, now has until October to make a decision.

By local democracy reporter Joseph Anderson