PUBLICANS Stuart Brown and Diane Garbutt thought signs advertising a cheap beer promotion would drum up trade at their village local.
Since the couple took over the Bonny Moor Hen, a 100-year-old hostelry in Front Street, Stanhope, Weardale, two and a half years ago trade has been brisk.
But when they tried to boost it even further with a promotion which read Pints for Peanuts – a reference to a £1.99 per pint offer – on the front of their Grade II-listed building the reaction from some locals and planning officers left a bitter taste in their mouths.
They were told the signs were not in keeping with an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and were more likely to deter visitors than to attract them.
Diane, 38, said: “Apparently someone from the parish council complained that the signs on the front of the pub were out of place.
“It is disappointing because I would have thought they would have wanted to encourage people to visit Stanhope. We are trying to attract cyclists and walkers to stay here, and by doing so they are likely to boost the local economy.”
Stuart, 39, added: “It is not as if the signs were tacky. We have them out at the back in our beer garden. They were provided by the brewery, Greene King, as part of a promotion yet someone from the county council came out and ordered us to take them down.” The couple’s local county councillor, John Shuttleworth, said last night the attitude was “bureaucracy gone mad”.
He added: “Nobody complained to me about the posters. The county council says it wants to attract visitors to the dale yet when a hard-working couple put up signs to attract trade they are told to take them down.
“It is as if one department in the county council doesn’t know what the other is doing.”
But county council planning chief Stuart Timmiss said: “The pub is a Grade II-listed building which already has a significant amount of signage.
“The banner ‘pints for peanuts’ did nothing to promote tourism, in fact if anything detracts from the things which would attract people to stop and visit.
“The appearance of the building is the key to the quality and character of the area. We had a friendly discussion with the landlord, he expressed no concern over our action and he was still able to promote the issue by hanging the banner on the inside of the beer garden fence.”