Supermarket bosses had to apologise for a sign stunt – just hours after opening their new multi-million pound store in Chorley yesterday morning.
Complaints flooded in after Asda sprayed temporary direction signs – including in a town centre conservation area – to the new store on roads and pavements without permission.
Asda was ordered to remove the green chalk by both Chorley and Lancashire County councils.
Some town centre traders and residents were upset with Asda, showing their anger through social media. Staff at Wilcock and Sons hardware store, Chapel Street, cleaned away signs outside their shop and on nearby St George’s Street – a conservation area.
Owner Arthur Adlam told the Guardian: “The girls had already scrubbed it off by the time I’d come down. It’s a bit much right outside my shop front. It’s inappropriate.
“They’re all over the place. They were on Brooke Street near Morrisons. I think it’s very aggressive. A lot of people know the store’s coming.
Malcolm Allen, chairman of Chorley Traders’ Alliance, said: “We’re rather disappointed that Asda have taken up into the town centre with ‘graffiti’.
“We spent years bringing it under control, until we find a national chain has no respect for the conservation areas like St George’s Street, like the big oak tree at the junction of Chapel Street and St George’s Church.
“I think it’s a bit disrespectful to the town in which they are trading. Everybody knows Asda is coming to town.
“It’s just a mess. If anybody else did it and we catch them, they are prosecuted for fly posting and graffiti.”
Coun Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, said: “Asda haven’t approached us for permission about these signs and as far as we’re aware they haven’t approached anyone else.
“There’s a balance to be struck between supporting our town centre and accommodating Asda but this is too far. We’re speaking with Asda today to get them removed.”
David Johnnie, Lancashire County Council’s highways manager for Chorley, said: “We have inspected the roads and found several markings directing people to the new ASDA store in Chorley.
“We will now speak to managers at the store and ask them to remove the markings as quickly as possible.”
An Asda spokesman said: “We’re sorry if we’ve upset any of the local traders, we tried something new with eco-friendly chalk to highlight our new store, which we hope will attract more shoppers into the town which is good news for local traders.
“After listening to their concerns the chalk will now be removed.”