A BUSINESS has defended its decision to place an advert next to the war memorial in Middlewich after it caused a backlash among residents.

The advert was placed there by Cliff Dickenson and Son, a car dealership based in Winsford.

The billboard was met with criticism by residents who claimed that it was an inappropriate place for an advert, due to its proximity to the war memorial.

Chris Winward, managing director of the company, said that they are proud to support the town council and the events they organise and host.

The company’s involvement with the town council started in 2011 when Simon McGrory, parts manager, became Town Mayor of Middlewich.

Chris said: “We started with small contributions, and in December 2011 we funded the purchase of the Christmas tree placed on the Bull Ring.

“That was the very first year, when in agreement with the town council, we placed our advertising trailer on the Bull Ring for the Christmas period.”

The advert has been placed in the Bull Ring at Christmas and during FAB Festival every year since.

Despite this, residents took to social media to question whether or not it was ethical to have an advert placed near to the war memorial while others claimed it was not disrespectful but just an eyesore.

Staff at Cliff Dickenson and Son were surprised to hear of the backlash to the advert after this year’s FAB Festival because of the support they have provided to events and charities in the town.

Chris said: “We support many other organisations and charities in the area and are extremely proud of our work with St Luke’s Hospice.

“We support their infamous Bubble Rush, and for the past six years we have donated a brand-new car every year to help St Luke’s raise much needed funds for such a worthy cause.”

“We are disappointed to hear some people took to social media to express views on our involvement at Middlewich FAB this year.

After hearing about the criticism from the town council, the advert was removed from the Bull Ring Chris stated that this was the first time they had received complaints about the billboard.

Chris said: “We have never run into objections before and feel we acted swiftly and appropriately in removing the trailer when we were contacted by the council.

“We are also delighted that so many other people also supported our involvement and look forward to doing so in the years to come.”

Jonathan Williams, Middlewich Town Council clerk, said: “We have a longstanding arrangement with Cliff Dickenson and Son. They sponsor many events in our what’s on guide and we are grateful for their support.

“The trailer has been on display in the Bull Ring before. We are conscious of people’s thoughts on this and apologise if anybody took offence.

“I don’t know if it will be there at the Car show this weekend but I think that would be deemed appropriate. We have a good relationship with the dealership as a local firm and we hope this continues.”