THE owner of a Colchester tattoo parlour has slammed a "ridiculous" decision to reject her appeal to allow her to project her business’ logo onto the pavement.

Sonya Trusty was told the projection was an “alien” addition to the street scene in Colchester High Street in January.

She appealed to the planning inspectorate to overturn Colchester Council's decision but this has now been thrown out. 

Sonya has been running Red’s Tattoo Parlour since 2004 and has built up a reputation as a gifted artist in the community.

Gazette: Creative - Sonya Trusty previously applied to project her logo onto Colchester High Street Creative - Sonya Trusty previously applied to project her logo onto Colchester High Street (Image: Newsquest)

The tattooist said she felt the decision was unfair as she claims other businesses in the city centre are permitted to have illuminations.

She said: “I feel the council has not acted fairly; I do feel prejudiced against, the Red Lion Walk has three illuminations.

“Our path is the widest in Colchester, I don’t see how it would affect pavement users, they have another ten feet of space.  

“The council has granted permission to Walkabout and more because they aren’t tattoo shops.

“I feel they have doubted the people of Colchester knowing the difference between an obstruction, and a light source.”

Sonya believes the situation is “ridiculous” and it’s clear that there would be “no adverse effects” with an illumination because of the council granting permission to Red Lion walk and Walkabout.

On November 23, an inspector visited the area but Sonya says she was not informed and was not able to show the inspector the light in action. 

Gazette: Talented - Sonya and a clientTalented - Sonya and a client (Image: Newsquest)

Gazette: Interior - The inside of Red's Tattoo ParlourInterior - The inside of Red's Tattoo Parlour (Image: Red's Tattoo Parlour)

Inspector David Reed said in his report: "The projected sign would be seen as a distracting, non-traditional intervention in the street scene, particularly for pedestrians walking along the pavement, perhaps manoeuvring to avoid the sign and sometimes actually being lit up themselves.

"Being an unusual and unproven form of advertising, this would be likely to have adverse, unforeseen consequences for public safety."

Sonya added: “I think what we vitally need is new and improved ways to help the businesses to thrive and to have a bit of fairness.

"The council needs to help the businesses in the area, so we can bring it back and thrive.

“Colchester is a wonderful place, the council is not a friend of businesses, we feel like we don’t get enough support.

“We’re not asking for handouts; we are just asking for help.”

A spokesman for Colchester Council has commented on the plea.

They said: "A proposed projected sign for Red's Tattoo Parlour was reviewed by an independent planning inspector at appeal.

"The inspector deemed the sign unacceptable due to its potential negative impacts on the streetscape, public safety, and the character of the City Centre Conservation Area (Colchester CA).

“The inspector noted that the projected sign, despite its relatively small size, would create an ‘unexpected and disruptive element’ in the city centre.

"Its presence would be ‘particularly distracting for pedestrians walking along the pavement’, potentially leading to manoeuvring to avoid the sign and even being illuminated by the projection.

"Moreover, the inspector expressed concerns about the potential safety hazards associated with this ‘novel and unproven’ advertising method.

“The inspector also considered the wider impact on the setting of nearby listed buildings and the character and appearance of the Colchester CA.

"He concluded that the projected sign would detract from the area's aesthetic appeal and fail to preserve the setting of nearby listed buildings.

“The Council remains committed to supporting businesses in the city centre and has partnered with the BID to provide free advice on improving shopfronts and signage.

"Council officers are eager to collaborate with Red's Tattoo Parlour to address the challenges of operating at an upper-floor level and hope that the owner will reach out to engage in a constructive dialogue to address these concerns.”