BUSINESSES near the Ipswich Road works have been given another kick in the teeth after one firm was ordered to remove signs telling people they’re still open... within 24 hours of putting them up.

Long-established independent firm Rollerworld has been threatened with legal action and potential fines by Colchester Council, less than a day after installing the signs.

The firm says it has been warned it has 48 hours remove them or face the consequences.

Rollerworld general manager Karl Zabroski said: “Many of our customers have been baffled by the confusing signage for the diversion route in place. Many of these customers are simply being sent the wrong way.

“After numerous conversations with and broken promises from the authorities to have these signs amended, we took it upon ourselves to put adequate signage within the affected area.”

He added: “We understand the rules and laws regarding flyposting but we would expect that some consideration to the circumstances be applied.”

The £5.5 million Ipswich and Harwich roads scheme, which will see single roundabouts replacing double roundabouts, began in September 2018 and is expected to finish some time this summer.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: The Ipswich Road scheme kicked off in September 2018The Ipswich Road scheme kicked off in September 2018

Contractors have just agreed to trial reopening Ipswich Road roundabout.

Mr Zabroski said: “We are concerned if our customers can’t find us the future of a small, family-run business, which has been such an important part of Colchester’s history and culture for 30 years, could be in jeopardy.”

Darren Lisney, who runs the Old Siege House restaurant in nearby East Street, has emailed MPs, councillors and even Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking for help.

The letter said: “I am concerned they will not be finished until 2021 at some point, in which case we might as well close now and save losing more money. We need help now before it is too late for us and other businesses in the area.”

A spokesman for Colchester Council said temporary advertising consent was needed.

He said: "While we recognise the frustration and disruption residents and businesses have experienced since the roadworks began, we do have a duty as the local planning authority to investigate incidents of fly-posting when they are reported to us.

“In this case, unauthorised advertisements had been placed on street furniture and on roundabouts without the consent of the highway authority and landowners and, therefore, will have to be removed.

“While there are some exemptions to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 that permit the display of certain materials in some locations with the consent of the landowner, most local authorities operate a zero-tolerance policy on fly-posting – Colchester Council included.

“If any business is looking for a temporary advertisement consent for a suitable sign, they should apply through the normal planning process and submit an application for advertisement consent.”

A spokesman for County Hall said: "Official highways signage is already in place to advertise local businesses in this area where appropriate, while works are ongoing.

"Unofficial signage is not permitted in any situation as they can distract drivers from the road and restrict visibility, especially when placed on centre islands or next to other road or traffic signs.”