Patricia Gibson demanded the removal of a 'provocative Union Flag
Patricia Gibson, whose husband Kenneth is an MSP in Holyrood, complained to North Ayrshire Council about the “eyesore” in the seaside town of Largs.
Planners initially agreed to take enforcement action and said the flagpole above The Sheiling bar on the town's Main Street was against the local authority’s advertising policy.
Officials considered “the flagpole harms the visual amenity of the area by way of its high level siting, its prominence in the streetscene, a main route into and out of the town centre, and its incongruous appearance on the host building”.
But Conservative councillor Tom Marshall, who sits on the planning committee, laughed at the suggestion saying the issue was not the flagpole but the flag itself.
Although the person who installed the flagpole on the tenement wall had not applied for planning permission, Cllr Marshall saw no reason to ask the owner to remove it.
He added: “I quite like seeing the flag there. Coming from a different side to Mrs Gibson I see no issue with flying the UK flag and as one of my Labour peers put it, surely she has better things to do than poke her nose into issues that do not fall in her remit. Planning is a council, not Westminster issue.”
Conservative councillor Tom Marshal claimed the issue was not the flagpole but the flag itself
The vice chair of planning’s proposal to take no action was supported by the majority of the committee and he promised to “speak to the chap” to sort out the necessary permission.
Mrs Gibson insisted she had been alerted to the issue by “concerned citizens” and added: “I raised this matter on behalf of constituents who had expressed concern that the flag was designed to be provocative and was an eyesore on the Main Street.
“If the person responsible for the flag has been asked to submit a planning application then I would expect them to do so at the earliest opportunity.”