ALEX Salmond has been told to take down a Yes sign from his property due to a planning dispute. 

The wooden sign, painted with a saltire, was hung up on the Alba Party leader's garden 18 months ago, the Press and Journal reported. 

However, after a complaint prompted an investigation, Aberdeenshire Council labelled the sign political advertising.

As such it is subject to planning rules and likely will not be allowed to stay in place due to the proximity of the property to a listed former mill. 

Salmond has vowed to challenge the ruling that the sign is political despite the sign matching the logo of the "Yes" campaign.

The former first minister blasted it as “pettifogging officialdom” and said he had written to the council's chief executive demanding they rethink what he deemed "bureaucratic silliness".

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The Alba Party leader said: "The sign has been up for 18 months since it was carved from driftwood by local Strichen man Mike Morgan.

“There are issues about freedom of speech but, basically, the council officials should get their priorities right and their facts straight.”

The man behind the wooden sign claimed it would be a "great shame" to see it go. 

Morgan said the sign had been used for a "group of ramblers who [they] were serving refreshments to after the first lockdown".

An email from the council’s head of environment and infrastructure services, Paul Macari, states that the sign should have required “advertising consent”.

It read: "No such consent is in place and therefore the sign comprises a breach of planning control.”

The location in the proximity of the B-listed property also means it “impacts on the setting of the listed building”.

Macari adds: “It is considered to have a negative effect on amenity.

“It is our intention to pursue the removal of the sign or seek a formal planning application for its retention.”

A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Council said: “Following a complaint from a member of the public we have assessed the sign in question and advised Mr Salmond that, should he wish to keep the sign, he will require advertisement consent.”