A NATIONAL park authority has been criticised for clamping down on a businessman’s attempts to attract visitors to a Dales village.
Martin Faichney, who owns a fish and chip shop in Ingleton, has hit out at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority after officers threatened legal action if he failed to take down a sign encouraging people to call in to the village.
The dad of two, who runs Inglenook Fish and Chips, says the authority is being ‘heavy-handed’.
He says that many visitors do not realise how much the village has to offer and that they do not call in as a result.
“People drive straight through,” he said. “If they’re coming from Hawes they go straight on to places like Kirkby Lonsdale.
“If people know there’s a village centre they are more like to stop, and spend some money in different places, and surely that benefits the local economy?”
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The black and white sign, attached to a trailer, is in a field overlooking the B6255.
It advertises ‘fish and chips’ although it does not mention Mr Faichney’s business by name. And it states that there is a ‘village centre’ for people to visit.
“The reason I put ‘village centre’ on the sign was that I thought it would be helping the village centre shops, not just my own,” he continued.
“A lot of people say to me: ‘We didn’t know there was a chip shop here and we’ve been passing for years. A good proportion of people have called in after seeing the sign.”
Now Mr Faichney, who bought the business with wife Yasmin last year, has been told he has four weeks to remove the sign or it will be removed for him and he will be liable for the cost.
A spokesman for the YDNPA said the case was ‘straightforward’. “The sign is within a field next to the Hawes/Ingleton road which is an area of considerable scenic beauty,” he said.
“Commercial advertising signs in such areas can be particularly harmful to the natural beauty of the landscape.
“The authority has asked Mr Faichney to remove the sign and officers have spoken to him about more suitable locations.
“Unfortunately Mr Faichney has refused to move the sign which leaves the authority no option other than to serve an enforcement notice requiring its removal.”