THE owner of a dog salon, who was told to remove a mural or apply for planning permission, has said she has submitted her application - but still disputes that it is an advert.

Marcia Dillon was asked by Sunderland City Council to obtain permission after residents complained that a mural on the side of her premises was an advertisement and an 'eyesore.'

Ms Dillon, who has run Hair of the Dog in Sunderland for several years, argued the mural - named Frankie - "brightened up the area" after The Echo first reported that concerns had been raised.

She has now applied for planning permission but has not yet paid the appropriate fee of £132 as she still disputes the council's decision.

The Northern Echo:

She said: "I have submitted my application, but haven't sent them the fee - I've sent them an emailing explaining why I haven't.

"There's other murals around the area, one has a hot dog on the side of a takeaway, and I don't know if that has permission."

Under Town and Country Planning Regulations, any design resembling an advert must be less than 0.75 metres in height before planning permission is required.

The mural is higher than regulations allow.

Planning permission generally allows for the public to have their say on whether they agree with the size and nature of advert being installed.

But Ms Dillon said 'hundreds' of people had been showing their support for the mural online and in person, taking part in the #SaveFrankie social media campaign.

She said: "It has just gone everywhere, it's been massive - people have been coming in to the shop, stopping me in the supermarket, just to tell me how much they like it.

"If it has to go, I will put something else on there - I am not going to let it go."

Last month, Mark Stephen, who has lived on Durham Road for the past thirteen years, described the artwork as an 'eyesore.'

He said: "It is an absolutely humongous eyesore, it just brings down the whole area.

"It's an advert and we have to look at this every single day, wake up to it every single day.

"We haven't been asked about it and we haven't been able to give the salon our views, it just went up in one afternoon."

Mr Stephen said other residents had complained about it the artwork.

"It just looks horrendous, it may look OK for people passing by but they aren't looking at it every day," he added.

A spokesperson for Sunderland City Council said they had now received Ms Dillon's planning application.