A LEISURE boss has lost a High Court battle to keep one of East Lancashire’s best-known advertising hoardings.

Dale Winfield, owner of the eponymous store at Rising Bridge, had taken his battle over the prominent sign, erected on a hill he owns off the A56.

His lawyers have argued that the hoarding had been in location, on and off for 10 years, the period required under law for it to become ‘permanent’.

Even when posters had been removed from the site, under threat of action from the council, it remained as an ‘advertisement’ location.

Last September Mr Winfield applied to Rossendale Council for a ‘certificate of lawfulness’ for the structure, which was refused. Unabashed he then took his case to a planning inspector, who upheld the Valley council’s ruling, and then an appeal was lodged with the Administrative Court in London.

And when that failed he secured a hearing at the Court of Appeal’s Civil Division for a final ruling on the matter.

But Lord Justice Maurice Kay, vice president of the court, sitting with Lord Justice Elias and Sir Stephen Sedley, have also rejected his case.

He said that ‘common sense’ dictated if the hoard-ing was unadorned then it could not be considered an ‘advertisement’.

Lord Justice Elias added: “The inspector made an unequivocal finding that the advertisements were taken down to remedy the breach of planning control.”

In reaching the ruling though, Sir Stephen said that the Communities Department should re-examine the wording of existing legislation on the issue, which was defined in court as ‘cumbersome’ and ‘unwieldy’.