A shop design with bright lights certainly attract attention but get exterior lighting wrong and you may fall foul of the local council and conservation officers.

Normally the subject of kebab shops only ever crops up when MPL's team of shop fitters in London and other cities feeling peckish after an installation but a news story concerning the purveyors of finest doner was the talk of the office.

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A kebab shop’s new exterior signage was so distinctive that it created a viral social media storm and made the online issue of the Daily Mail. Dubbed the ‘new Northern Lights’, the shop’s illuminated LED sign featured animated images of a motorbike and even a man carving meat – drawing comparisons with Piccadilly Circus and even Las Vegas!

When boldest isn’t best

While eye-catching, the signage enraged local residents equally as much as the local council, with the latter deeming the installation a breach of planning policy. Despite spending £5,000 on the sign and stating he had got planning permission, the shop owner was requested to take down the entire illumination.

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Be aware of planning policy

The rub was with the animation – apparently although plans for a new sign had been lodged with the council, consent had not been given for moving images. We don’t, for one second, believe that animated signage will creep into estate agency exteriors any time soon but this story illustrates the importance of seeking correct planning permission.

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Get advice before you install

There are many rules and regulations pertaining to exterior signage and lights – and these vary from council to council and area to area. From major faux pas, such as moving images, to very small nuances (such as the style and colour of a trough light arm), pernickety planners can reject plans or demand changes according to their own rule book. Business owners also need to consider light pollution, conservation areas and the local vernacular when planning new external signage or risk costly mistakes.

MPL Interiors has installed 1,000s of new shop fronts, exterior signs and outside illuminations. If you would like advice on how to keep your neighbours and planners happy, contact us today.