Garages and car dealerships are being criticised for having too many garish signs and illuminations at their premises.

The attack has come from a civic watchdog which is regularly protesting to planning officers about the signage.

Harrogate Civic Society said many garage signs involved large areas of garishly illuminated plastic.

Its planning spokesman Henry Pankhurst said: "Can people wonder why we often comment on them, particularly when there is a planning policy to protect the main approaches to towns from adverse effects in terms of character and appearance."

Mr Pankhurst said there were signage applications in various parts of the Harrogate district that have raised fears from the watchdog.

Concerns include pylon signs, too many signs, too much plastic, intensive illumination, over-size signs, impact on conservation areas and effect on nearby homes.

Mr Pankhurst said he was always surprised at the degree of impact that garages and petrol stations are allowed and feels sure other businesses in similar locations would not get away with what the society calls "such visual damage".

The society's campaign, which has also been critical of a series of flags fluttering from poles outside garages, has often been successful in getting planners to scale back on the intensity of its signage and illumination projects.