A BRIGHTLY-LIT sign put up by Wightlink Ferries at its Lymington terminal has been condemned by neighbours as an “obscene nuisance” that floods their homes with light at night.
The large LED screen measures two metres by one metre and has been positioned outside Costa Coffee beside traffic lanes where vehicles queue before boarding.
Wightlink say the sign is to “control traffic flow” but furious residents who live on Undershore Road claim that it has been erected “purely for advertising purposes”.
One man who lives nearby said: “It is too far from the entrance to have any effect on traffic control.
“What it does do is change adverts every few seconds which means it flickers continuously which drives us mad.
“Even with curtains up the light comes flooding through as it is so bright. The only reason for the screen seems to be for Wightlink to be able to run adverts.
“If Wightlink are not made to take it down, then how long will it be before other businesses in Lymington are demanding to have the same sort of thing?”
Residents in the road have christened the sign ‘Lymington illuminations’ after the famous Blackpool annual display. One man branded it “an obscene nuisance”.
The sign went up in in the summer and residents immediately complained, with one man going across to the Wightlink terminal to demand they dim it.
He said: “It was so bright you could practically have seen it from space. It was just ridiculous. It was 9pm at night.
“They did turn it off but after that it goes on around 5am and off about 9.30pm. They say they have dimmed it which has had a slight effect, but it is still ridiculously intrusive.”
Several residents have complained to New Forest District Council’s environmental health department.
According to them, NFDC said no planning permission had been applied for by Wightlink to put the sign up and there is no record of any application being received or decided on the authority’s online portal.
NFDC was asked by the A&T to confirm whether Wightlink have been given approval for the sign but it has not responded.
When approached by the A&T the ferry company claimed in a statement they had been granted planning permission.
It read: “Wightlink installed a new LED sign at Lymington earlier this year to improve communication with its customers.
“The screen gives details of sailing times, the exact location of the ferries and other information for passengers.
“Planning permission was obtained for its installation in a location near the boarding ramp and where it can be clearly seen by drivers.
“Following discussions with a local resident, the screen’s brightness was reduced to a minimum. It is turned off following the last sailing of the day and turned on again the following morning before the first sailing departs.”