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Planners to consider 'visual impact' of Yeovil joke shop application

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: October 31, 2012

Mike Burt in the Haunted House at his joke shop in Yeovil. He is involved in a planning wrangle over a sign and the use of the listed building but insists Mad Hatter’s attracts custom to the Somerset town from as far afield as Cornwall and London

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Mike and Terri Burt’s amazingly spooky Hallowe’en Show above their joke and party shop draws thousands of visitors, but some of the changes to the listed building are causing grave concern to planners.

Frankenstein’s monster stands with outstretched arms as Mr Burt wrestles with a skeleton at Mad Hatter’s joke shop in Princes Street, Yeovil.

But South Somerset District planners have made no bones about the fact that they are concerned by changes which Mr Burt has made since taking over the premises next door this year.

He had so many visitors at the weekend that he had to have a doorman to limit the numbers.

Yesterday he said: “We have had a massive problem with the council since taking over the other building. They seem to think it is a bit too colourful and not in keeping with the conservation area, but we have had 3,000 people sign a petition backing us, and only one person emailed to say the council knows best.

"Customers come from London and Cornwall because we are sometimes the only shop in the UK which has what they want, and they go on to use the cafés and other shops in the town.”

A council spokesman said: “An application has just been submitted by the owners of the shop regarding the front facia signage.

"The application will now go through the formal planning process and we will consider the visual impact this will make in the area."

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