B&B owners’ anger at highway sign vetting

John Honnor by the sign on the A17
John Honnor by the sign on the A17
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BED and breakfast owners John and Lesley Honnor are hopping mad because Lincolnshire County Council is asking them to fill in a five-page form and pay a £70 fee to keep brown tourism signs directing visitors to their business.

The couple forked out more than £1,300 ten years ago to get the tourist signs placed on the A17 at Saracen’s Head.

Now they are being re-vetted – and must fill in the form and stump up the cash or risk losing the signs.

Mr Honnor said it took two years of correspondence to get the signs in the first place and they seem to be back at square one.

To add insult to injury he’s been given a 12-page booklet telling him how to fill in the five-page application form.

Mr Honnor said the county council is cutting costs but the department asking him to make the application seems to be looking for work to do.

He said: “They could ask ‘are you still in business?’ and ‘are the signs still in reasonable condition?’ That could be done in a phone call or an email.

“Tourism is struggling at the minute, everybody’s business is down, and they (the county council) are taking more and more away from you all of the time.”

Mr Honnor says he wrote to county council leader Coun Martin Hill, but his letter was not acknowledged, and to Coun Eddy Poll, the county’s executive councillor for economic development.

He claims Coun Poll simply passed his letter on to the department which is requiring him to fill in the form.

The Honnors have run Pipwell Manor, in Washway Road, for the last 20 years and it’s credited with a Michelin star.

Mr Honnor says the county authority is taking money out of tourism businesses – rather than supporting them – and seems reluctant to take action against companies putting up illegal signs on the highway.

County council spokesman Jonathan Fitzgerald said: “The 12-page booklet is the Tourism Policy Pack which explains the criteria. The application form is essential as it is important that we understand various factors including whether they sell food – as we need to see food licences – and if they are compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act.

“There is no charge for this, with the exception of a £70 contribution towards our costs.

“A number of other highways authorities no longer display brown signs, especially in these tough financial times, but Lincolnshire County Council is determined to be as supportive of businesses as possible and will therefore continue to provide this opportunity.

“However, with limited resources, it is becoming more critical for the costs involved in maintaining signs to be met by the venue which benefits from them.”