City planners have been accused of failing to protect Birmingham's architectural heritage by allowing many of the city's best buildings to be disfigured by plastic advertising banners.
The Civic Society accused the city council of a dereliction of duty by turning a blind eye to an onslaught of hoardings which were supposed to be temporary but often remained in place for years.
Society members are particularly concerned about the former Barclays Bank, 78 Broad Street, a Grade ll* listed building, which was the Left Bank restaurant but is now the Big Bite fast food takeaway.
Plastic banners advertising burgers and baltis have been fixed to the front of the building.
Stephen Hartland, chairman of the Civic Society planning committee, said the banners were inappropriate for a historic building and he questioned whether formal approval had been granted.
Mr Hartland said: "I find it very hard to believe that the council has given planning permission for this. If it has, then the planning committee is in dereliction of its duty and is acting in an anti-social way by bringing down the area.
"The former Barclays Bank building has a Grade ll* listing, which puts it in the top ten per cent of architecturally important buildings in the country. It is appalling that Birmingham allows its heritage to be treated in this way."
Other buildings singled out by the Civic Society include:
* The Plough and Harrow Hotel in Hagley Road, which has a PVC banner on railings at the front of the property.
* Liberty's Night Club in Hagley Road, which is displaying a temporary advertising banner.
* The Midland Wheel Club,also in Hagley Road, which has two illuminated PVC banners.
Mr Hartland, who has written to the council's conservation officer asking him to take action, said: "All of these examples create an untidy and tatty look to the local environment and we are sure must infringe planning regulations.
"As far as the Midland Wheel Club is concerned, large hoardings with lighting must surely be illegal and create a hazard at a dangerous junction.
"We have noted with concern the creeping appearance of unsightly hoardings that have been springing up on buildings across the city for the past four years.
"It is about time that the council showed it cares about our heritage and took action to get these banners removed."
Martin Mullaney, vice-chairman of the council planning committee, said he could not comment on specific cases but promised to investigate where advertising had been displayed without official approval.
Coun Mullaney (Lib Dem Moseley & Kings Heath) said: "This is something we are concerned about. These banners clutter up the environment and make the place an absolute mess.
"In the same way that we are cracking down on flyposting, we should be cracking down on illegal advertising on buildings."
However, Coun Mullaney pointed out that advertising placards can be put in place without planning permission for six months where building work is taking place .
"It was often a good way to cover up the noise and mess caused by a building site, he said. ..SUPL: