An arrow meant to direct customers to Chester’s struggling indoor market was aimed heavenwards thanks to pranksters.
Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) spent £3,800 on two of the giant arrows, located in Town Hall Square, which point shoppers in the direction of the Forum shopping centre where the market is housed.
Reassurances had previously been offered that any students, stags or hens thinking of ‘borrowing’ the signs for a lark would be disappointed as the arrows were very heavy and ‘locked’ in one place.
But yesterday morning (Tuesday, January 27) one arrow was on its end, pointing to the sky, while the other was lying on its side but still pointing in the right direction.
Council spokeswoman Rachel Ashley said the arrows would be ‘bolted down’ in future.
There have been negative comments on social media about whether the arrows are appropriate in an historic setting with many describing them as an ‘eyesore’. Others have highlighted what they regard as hypocrisy because of the council’s past antipathy towards advertising boards placed by city centre traders.
Council spokeswoman Mrs Ashley confirmed the signs were here to stay and that planning permission was unnecessary because the arrows are ‘temporary’ structures.
The authority says the signage is covered by advertisement regulations which state that local authorities have deemed consent for directional advertising taking up no more than 1.55sq m in area for any function they might reasonably be required to deliver.
CWaC insists there is no requirement to consult about any aspect of their design. The council’s highways department was, however, consulted but decided the arrows did not present an unreasonable obstruction of the highway.
The arrows were commissioned following a request from market traders for better signage from Town Hall Square. The council says they are ‘designed to be fun and eye-catching’.
Branded in CWaC’s colours, the arrows will be able to provide directional signage to the new market if and when it relocates within the proposed Northgate Development scheme or for other projects and events.