Ken Livingstone

Picture by Gerald Scarfe taken from the BBC website.

Jose recently helped to pose a question, via Murad Qureshi, on Ghost Signs to London’s Mayor, Ken Livingstone. His question and Ken’s response are below.

The Mayor makes reference to the ‘London Plan‘ and this would seem to be his suggestion in terms of protecting signs via local councils.

`Ghost Signs’ in London, Question No: 2201 / 2007, Murad Qureshi:

“London is home to many fading painted wall advertisements, or ‘Ghost Signs’ that date back to the Victorian era and provide an important record of London’s economic and cultural history. Worryingly, they are under threat of destruction from varying sources including property developers and outdoor poster companies. For example, one near Clapham North has recently been painted over and billboards in Wandsworth have covered two ghost signs. In June, a Battersea Ghost Sign was saved when a judge ruled against an outdoor advertising company’s request to place a billboard over it. As yet, there is no official process by which planning permission is required in order to paint over, sandblast or otherwise destroy these historical ‘artifacts’. What are you doing to preserve these important records of our city’s commercial and cultural past?”

“Permission for the erection of outdoor advertisements is a local planning authority matter, and painting of the exterior of any building, as long as it is not an advertisement, is permitted development and not subject to planning permission. I therefore have very limited ability to influence these matters. Nevertheless, policies in the London Plan encourage boroughs to ensure that local policies ensure that development respects local context, history, character and communities, maintains the contribution of the built heritage toLondon’s environmental quality, and protects and enhances buildings of special quality and character.”