AN appeal against a council decision to refuse permission for a controversial digital advertising hoarding in Otley has been dismissed.

The news has been welcomed by councillors who had vigorously opposed the application.

The appeal to the Planning Inspectorate was made by Wildstone, owners of outdoor media infrastructure. It came after Leeds City Council planning officers turned down its application for a digital billboard at 52 Westgate, Otley, saying it would “form a stark, incongruous and obtrusive addition” to the high street.

The proposal was to remove one of two existing paper billboards and convert the other to digital.

Wildstone had maintained the application would halve the amount of advertising in the vicinity - within Otley Conservation Area - as well as modernising the site. To minimise any disturbance the screens would operate at minimum brightness and be turned off between 10pm and 7am.

But in a decision published on November 23 an independent planning inspector dismissed Wildstone’s appeal saying: “The proposed digital advertisement display screen would be detrimental to the interests of amenity and public safety.”

Otley and Yeadon Liberal Democrat Councillors Sandy Lay, Colin Campbell and Ryk Downes welcomed the decision.

“We along with residents were very concerned about the proposal,” said Cllr Lay. “A large illuminated display board would have had a serious impact on the lives of residents living nearby.”

Cllr Campbell added: “We were also concerned that the changing display would distract motorists. On this busy road it would have been a potential road safety hazard.”

“Leeds turned down the application because they felt a digital sign in the conservation area was detrimental both to amenity and road safety. We are pleased to say the planning inspector agreed with them.”

Councillor Penny Robinson, who represents the area on Otley Town Council added: “This is good news for the community. I know that residents were very concerned about the proposal and will be relieved it is not now going ahead.”

Wildstone declined to comment.