Kent’s pub of the year embroiled in local row over ‘unacceptable’ illuminated sign

Tiger Inn - Triangle News
Tiger Inn - Triangle News

Residents of a village in Kent have complained that a local pub’s illuminated sign is so bright they can’t sleep and it is ruining their stargazing.

Locals say not only are they blinded by a lit-up sign outside the award-winning Tiger Inn but also claim the gastropub’s new night lighting is a “blot on the landscape”.

The owners of the pub in Stowting, between Folkestone and Ashford, are being forced to install a dimmer switch after complaints the sign had pushed back residents’ bedtimes and interrupted their stargazing in what was once a dark hamlet.

They have also been left frustrated after the pub, this year named the best in Kent, extended the seating area which left some cars parking on the road.

The local area is in Zone E1 - which is denoted as naturally and intrinsically dark.

Tiger Inn - Triangle News
Tiger Inn - Triangle News

The pub won best in Kent in the Pub and Bar Awards 2022 following a six-figure refurbishment a year after it came under new ownership.

Resident Jane Waterman said: “There are several things that are of concern to me - the pub sign which I can see at night when I am stargazing.

“I believe in progress and change but not when someone thinks they have the right to do whatever they want with no thought for anyone else.

“Apparently the lady next door who has lived there for many, many years is thinking of selling up as she cannot cope anymore.”

Tiger Inn - Triangle News
Tiger Inn - Triangle News

Another local, M.E. McColvin, added: “The light is far too bright and stays on until 00.30. The sign is a blot on the landscape.”

Stowting Parish Council said: “The very real result of this is that the sign, erected many months ago, is causing serious problems for the immediate residents and their ability to enjoy the amenity of their properties.

“It is lighting up living rooms and bedrooms, with the latter interfering with some residents’ sleeping patterns on a daily basis, all of which is totally unacceptable and must be resolved.”

The pub was taken over in June 2021 by Will and Nadine Sheldon following a six-figure refurbishment but they did not apply for planning permission for the sign being moved at the time, saying they were not aware they had to.

Will, the Managing Director of Contemporary Pubs, said: “The Tiger Inn's location is very rural and therefore it is important for the business to be seen, as without an illuminated sign, you would just drive on past.

“The sign light is on a timer and is turned off in advance of the approved licensing hours.

“We will be fitting a dimmer to the sign light later this week, which will bring the candela down to 100 cd/m2 which is the recommended level.

“Let’s hope it saves us on our electricity bill as well.”