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Protest posters spark stand of with councillors

PUBLISHED: 17:40 02 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:01 23 August 2010

A PRESSURE group has sparked a row with the council after refusing to remove posters advertising a protest picnic despite being warned. Gravesham Borough Council threatened pressure group Urban Gravesham with legal action after they refused to remove a s

A PRESSURE group has sparked a row with the council after refusing to remove posters advertising a protest picnic despite being warned.

Gravesham Borough Council threatened pressure group Urban Gravesham with legal action after they refused to remove a series of posters put up on an unused building in Queen Street, Gravesend.

One of the posters featured a mocked-up picture of council leader Mike Snelling posing as a builder next to a bulldozer.

In a letter to the chairman of the group, Jonathan Clay, the council said if they were not removed by August 26 they would be facing fines of up to £2,500 per poster.

The group came under fire from the council earlier in the year for plastering the town with stickers protesting against the proposals for a 32-storey tower to be built as part of the Heritage Quarter developments.

Leader of Gravesham Borough Council Mike Snelling said: "This is the second time this group has defaced the town and it is ironic that people who claim to be protecting Gravesend's heritage seem to condone vandalism in this way."

A spokesperson for the council said the posters were removed by the building's owners before the deadline.

The council said action was taken as the posters were in breach of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Mr Clay disagrees and told the council: "Your suggestion that Urban Gravesham is 'vandalising the borough' is an absurd and defamatory overreaction to a small number of posters advertising a local, social, cultural and recreational event being temporarily displayed on a derelict building in Queen Street."

He also refused to remove the posters.

He said: "As the posters were not displayed with my knowledge I do not feel in the least bit motivated to do anything about it."

Urban Gravesham has applied to Kent County Council to have the site of the protest, St Andrews Gardens, Crooked Lane, Gravesend, protected as a town green to prevent it being redeveloped as part of the £100million plans for the Heritage Quarter.

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