ALEX Salmond has been allowed to keep a Yes sign he was previously told was in breach of planning rules.

In March, Aberdeenshire Council officials told the former first minister to apply for permission to have the Saltire placard nailed to a tree in his garden.

They branded the wooden sign- which Salmond said had been there for 18 months - a piece of "political advertising" and insisted it was unlikely he would be allowed to keep it due to the proximity of the property to a listed former mill.

Salmond vowed to challenge the ruling and blasted it as “pettifogging officialdom”.

He said he had written to the council's chief executive demanding they rethink what he deemed "bureaucratic silliness".

And according to the Press & Journal, he has now been told he is allowed to keep the sign - just off the B9093 route into Strichen from New Pitsligo - in place.

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An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman last night told the paper officers had “accepted that this is not political signage”.

The spokesman said: “After careful reconsideration, we have now accepted that this is not political signage.

“We can confirm that, while formal advertisement consent is required, in this particular instance the sign has no impact on safety.

“And the resultant harm caused by the presence of the sign on the amenity [of the area] is not considered to be significant to warrant the planning service taking formal action for its removal.”

Salmond said: “I’m glad common sense has prevailed and well done to the council officials for accepting the facts of the matter.

“The Strichen Saltire stays in place and freedom of expression continues in Aberdeenshire.”