From the business desk: Basepoint and the sign saga

W26306H13OliPoole''Business Picture. Worthing Herald Business Reporter, Oli Poole. ENGSUS00120130620162236
W26306H13OliPoole''Business Picture. Worthing Herald Business Reporter, Oli Poole. ENGSUS00120130620162236

HOW MUCH confusion and controversy can one business and its signage cause?

Not a lot, I would have wagered before I joined the Herald and Gazette in 2012.

Sadly, a sign saga I have been covering in recent weeks has blown that presumption out of the water – and it is now bordering on ridiculous.

For those living outside Shoreham, it may be difficult to comprehend how Basepoint business centre’s chosen signage on the iconic Ropetackle building has caused so much discussion.

But more than a year on from when the first issues emerged, the debacle still rumbles on. For those who have not kept up with the story, it all started last year when ‘Ropetackle’ signs on the well-known building were replaced with ‘Basepoint’ lettering.

The community feel strong ties to the Ropetackle name and were outraged at the change and a long campaign eventually led to a sensible compromise situation being reached, incorporating both names.

Residents thought that was the end of it.

But last month, Basepoint asked for advertisement consent to be determined on an application submitted for ‘Basepoint’-only lettering before the compromise was reached.

It was a decision which confused not only me but residents and even council planners. When it was due for determination, the planning committee rightly requested the absent Basepoint attend to explain its intentions.

Unfortunately, Basepoint appears to have declined this invitation and instead provided a short letter for the committee’s benefit.

After being advised the best course of action was to simply withdraw the application, the firm has agreed to do so only if it receives a full refund of its application fee.

This is, in my view, a disappointing defiance by Basepoint. Time is precious – but it is for everyone else, too. It has reiterated it has no plans to change the signs again, which is welcomed, though its explanation as to why it wants the application determined makes no sense.

The new consent is unnecessary – it already has consent for the current signage and the honourable thing to do would have been to take the council’s advice.

Instead, it is now arguing over a planning fee of minimal cost. I urge Basepoint to do the right thing and withdraw this application as an amicable end to this sorry situation.