A SOCIAL club chief has blasted a council’s “heavy-handed” approach after it threatened to take legal action over a banner promoting a school’s summer fete.

Andover Central Club president, Paul Flippance, was told by letter that Test Valley Borough Council may start court proceedings over the club’s advertising hoardings on Eastern Avenue.

According to the council, some of the banners, including one for Andover Church of England School’s summer fete, do not have the required advertising consent.

As a result, the authority said in a letter it may take legal action if the club does not the remove the road-facing signs.

Mr Flippance said: “We put the school fete banner up every year to help out the school. We’ve done it for the few years and we’ve never had anything from the council about it.

“We don’t make a penny out of it, we do it because we want to support the fete which raises money for the young children and we are trying to help our community.

“Threatening to take us to court is heavy-handed if you ask me.”

Mr Flippance said he received the council’s letter on Monday, a week after taking down the sign for the fete, which took place on Saturday 1 July.

The 58-year-old says he has had no communication with the council about the banner, and two other signs promoting Sky Sports, prior to receiving the letter.

Asked if he would put up the sign next year, Mr Flippance, a father-of-three added: “Yes of course I will.”

Test Valley Borough Council’s planning portfolio holder, councillor Nick Adams-King, says the authority acted following a complaint and did attempt to contact the club before sending a letter.

In a statement, he said: “It was brought to the council’s attention that two banners were displayed at Andover Central Club without the necessary advertisement consents.

“We investigate every time we receive a complaint, so an officer visited the premises on 29 June 2017 but nobody was there.

“We therefore sent a letter, which asked the owner to remove the unauthorised signs.

“Where there is a breach of planning rules around advertising the council are is obliged, by law, to act. As in this case, we will try to talk to the site owner first, but if we can’t, we will write to explain what needs to happen.

He added: “I’m sorry if the club thought that was too formal; it is however a statutory notice.”