Candle shop owner gets two weeks to take down 'unworthy' sign

Midlothian councillors were asked to give officers the go ahead to report the owner of Mr Melts.

Candle shop owner on Dalkeith high street gets two weeks to take down ‘unworthy’ sign LDRS

A candle wax shop owner who defied planners to install a sign branded “unworthy” of its conservation surrounding has been given two weeks to take it down or face possible court action and a £50,000 fine.

Midlothian councillors were today asked to give officers the go ahead to report the owner/occupier of Mr Melts, on Dalkeith High Street, to the Crown Office after he ignored an enforcement notice ordering him to remove the shop sign.

The council’s planning boss Peter Arnsdorf told a planning committee meeting that the sign had been put up despite being refused permission and an enforcement notice ordering ot to be taken down ignored.

However he said the shop operator had now been in touch saying it would be taken down and, if councillors approved the action, they would wait two weeks to see if it was removed before pursuing action.

Mr Arnsdorf told the committee he believed the offer to take the sign down came after the report requesting the committee’s approval to report the non-compliance of the enforcement notice to the Crown Office had been published.

He told councillors: “It appears it is the report that has forced them to take it down so if the recommendation is approved we will allow two weeks before we take further action.”

Mr Melts applied for permission to install the two metre wide white sign bearing its name above the door of a former opticians in a Listed Building on Dalkeith High Street, in 2022, after taking it over.

The proposal was turned down by Midlothian Council, and planners said the black and white sign did not reflect the traditional features of the area’s shop fronts and demanded a more traditional approach.

Refusing Listed Building Consent for it, they said the use of an aluminium board “would not respect the historic character and appearance of the shopfront”.

And the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland also criticised the style of the sign to planners saying: “These are very temporary and ill-designed signage material unworthy of a conservation area.”

Despite the decision, the shop went ahead and installed the sign – leading to an enforcement order being issued.

The site for the shop is part of a C listed building in the Dalkeith House and Park Conservation Area and has been involved in a scheme improving shopfronts in the town centre in recent years.

The committee agreed to grant officers permission to refer the case to the Crown Office but said they could wait two weeks to see if it was removed before taking the action.

In the report before councillors they were told: ” The maximum penalty on successful prosecution is a fine of up to £50,000 per offence.”

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