Tanning salon bosses have been ordered to remove a “tacky” and “sexualised” window display at their Perth city centre shop amid fears over its effect on nearby historic sites.
Nationwide chain Sun Shack lost a long-running fight to retain controversial, larger-than-life images of bikini-clad women at its salon on the corner of Princes Street and Canal Street.
The shopfront was condemned by local Liberal Democrat councillor Peter Barrett, who said it should be removed or covered up after complaints from residents and shoppers.
Sun Shack submitted an application for advertising consent to keep the display. The bid did not attract any objections during the standard public consultation period.
The company has been told the images – which are used at shops throughout Scotland – do not comply with the Perth and Kinross Council’s strict advertising regulations.
Planning officers said the pictures were “excessive in size” and had a “particularly harsh appearance.”
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Mr Barrett said he has instructed enforcement action against the company.
“This is the only sensible decision the council could come to,” he said. “I will be pressing for immediate enforcement of the notice to remove the posters at the earliest opportunity.”
He added: “It has been clear for months that the adverts are detrimental to the amenity of the area affecting both the listed buildings adjacent to the salon and the conservation area.
“There are lots of people who have silently had to put up with these blatant sexualised images of women demeaning our city centre. There has also been a vigorous debate on social media and I am pleased with the final outcome.”
Mr Barrett said the “tacky and offensive” nature of the ads impaired the amenity of the area, which is close to St John the Baptist church and Greyfriars burial ground.
In his report, planning officer Keith Stirton said: “The fascia signage has internal illumination and vibrant contrasting colours.
“Given the context of the site, the visual impact of the fascia signs and poster box would be considered to be acceptable.
“However, the window manifestations are excessive in size and proportions as they are the full height and full width of all window openings on each public elevation of the building.”
He added: “They have a particularly harsh appearance which creates a visually impermeable block on what was previously an active, attractive and animated window display.”
Mr Stirton said the ads would have a detrimental impact on the conservation area.
Sun Shack, which has about 18 branches across Scotland including three in Dundee, has declined to comment.
How Perth became known as the city that “banned sex”
This is not the first time Perth and Kinross Council has taken exception to a risque window display.
The authority was moved to investigate Ann Summers after a spate of complaints about its High Street store.
Residents objected when the branch – now closed – opened its doors at the prominent site in 2002.
Many complaints were about a seasonal display which showed three wise men “bearing gifts” for Christmas.
The council held a series of talks with company owners about what could and could not be displayed in its window.
Ann Summers said it was surprised by the backlash in Perth which, they claimed, was not repeated at any of its other stores across the UK.
The case, which rumbled on for a couple of years, drew national attention to the Fair City and led to one national newspaper dubbing it “the town that banned sex”.