North Wales Superstore wins battle to display English-only signs

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Jul 6 14:04:31 UTC 2005

>>From IC NorthWales

M&S wins battle of Welsh sign
Jul 5 2005

By Roland Hughes, Daily Post

A SUPERSTORE yesterday won its battle to display English-only signs
outside its new North Wales shop. Marks and Spencer was embroiled in a
dispute with Gwynedd council over signs for its new Bangor Simply Food
store. Gwynedd planning officers said the sign should be bilingual.

But the high street giants disagreed, claiming Simply Food was a
trademark. A Welsh Assembly appeals inspector yesterday ruled most shop
signs around Bangor bore English-only signs and so backed M&S's cause. A
Welsh campaigner last night blasted the Assembly for not promoting the
Welsh language.

In January, Gwynedd council's planning committee rejected an application
from M&S for the English sign on its Garth Road store which is due to open
this summer. The company, which has English-only signs at its Simply Food
stores in Cardiff and Swansea, lodged an appeal with the Welsh Assembly
inspector. The final report said while there was a desire to encourage use
of the Welsh language, other Bangor shops did not have bilingual signs.

But there will be bilingual signs inside the M&S store in line with the
retail giant's international policy. Last night, Aran Jones, chief
executive of Welsh campaigners Cymuned which threatened action against M&S
at the turn of the year, hit out at the Assembly's decision. Mr Jones
said: "It is a ridiculous decision from the Welsh Assembly once again.

"The Assembly should have supported Gwynedd council in this application,
without a doubt. "How can the Assembly have a healthy partnership with
councils when they undermine the council's basic Welsh-language policy
like this? "Things will only be bilingual in Bangor if projects like this
lead the way.

"There was a chance here to push big companies towards following a healthy
bilingual policy. Gwynedd council supported that and the Assembly has
completely contradicted them."

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