04:32AM, Wednesday 23 May 2012
The battle of the banners has taken a surprising turn with the sudden disappearance of racing pundit John McCririck's beaming face from a main road into Windsor.
The cheery celeb's jolly invitation to 'come racing' at Windsor Racecourse was on a line of banners attached to lampposts along Maidenhead Road.
But they caused anger among some businesses and residents who thought the banners were 'out of keeping' with the town.
The company responsible Bay Media was also accused of 'flagrantly' breaking the law by cabinet member for highways Cllr Phill Bicknell, because it had put the banners up without planning permission.
This morning Bay Media unexpectedly withdrew its application for retrospective permission to keep the banners in Maidenhead Road and Datchet Road. The plans were due to be considered tonight by planning councillors.
They were taken down this morning within an hour of the application being withdrawn.
Councillors had been expected to refuse the application on the advice of officers.
Chris Zair, account manager for Bay Media, says he is bemused by the opposition to the banners. He said last year the Royal Borough granted his company the tender to put up banners in principle, with a view to promoting local businesses while bringing in much-needed revenue.
But since then planning councillors have refused more of the company's banner applications.
Mr Zair said: "The reaction against the banners has been really unexpected.
"We have taken the latest ones down because we are not looking to get into a battle with anyone.
"We are now going to have formal meetings with the council to see if we can have a relationship in the future that will enable us to promote local businesses with our banners."
The company also withdrew a retrospective application to keep 20 banners in Sheet Street, 15 of which were also being recommended for refusal.
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