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Shop owner claims victory over council in window display row

Mike Simmons have been running his chocolate shop for over 18 months. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A shop owner in Maldon, Essex, is claiming a small victory after the local council backed down on the threat of court action over a display sign in his shop window.

Mike Simmons received a complaint about the small illuminated sign in his chocolate shop in shop in March 2017.

Maldon District Council instructed him to take the sign down or risk a significant fine.

The council said he did not have have right to display the light-up sign, as his shop is in the town centre conservation area.

"I just thought it was a joke. I was shocked, and then, once I found out it wasn't a joke, I was really, really angry.

"It's not like it's blazing into anyone's house, keeping them awake at night or in the hours of darkness. It's a sign that's on in the daytime."

– Mike Simmons, shop owner
Mike Simmons received a complaint about this illuminated sign displayed in his shop window. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The council threatened Mike with a £2,500 fine if the sign wasn't taken down - and £250 a day thereafter should it stay up.

However, after considerable protest from Mike and his customers, the council admitted it got it wrong.

"The council seeks to work with owners and occupiers of commercial premises... to regularise such breaches where possible.

"In this instance it was not considered expedient to take formal enforcement action and the enforcement case has now been closed."

– Statement from Maldon District Council
The council had threatened Mike with a fine if he refused to take the sign down. Credit: ITV News Anglia