BOLTON Council has refused to reveal how much money supermarket giant Lidl paid to build four advertising boards on the Chequerbent roundabout in Westhoughton.

The council told The Bolton News, in response to a freedom of information request, that disclosure would “prejudice its commercial interests”.

But Mike Jolly, who owns a model racing shop in Daisy Hill, said he was recently quoted £5,000 to sponsor a different roundabout, having twice been told to remove basic street signage near his shop.

He said this is “an awful lot” of money and not something he will be doing “anytime soon”.

In its response, Bolton Council admitted there was public interest in “transparency” of the activities of local authorities, but this was outweighed by the council lessening “the burden on the public purse”.

Mr Jolly, aged 53, set up his model racing shop two years ago after he started selling products on eBay when his grandchildren renewed his interest in the hobby.

He said: “Lidl is a bit bigger than me and sadly this is out of my reach.

“A very nice marketing lady came to see me with a brochure of things that I could look into.

“There may be other ways to promote the brand, such as sponsoring council events.

“But everything costs money.”

He wanted to retain a directional sign on a lamppost near his Daisy Hill shop but was told he did not qualify as he was “a business”.

Lidl’s signs are council-owned and available for businesses to use for a fee, which includes the local authority obtaining planning permission for them.

Bolton Council said: “Settling on an agreed amount for signage involves a process of negotiation, during which the council will always attempt to secure the best price possible.

“Should the other party be aware in advance of amounts of money that the council has secured in the past from other organisations, this would skew the process in their favour and negatively impact the council’s ability to secure a higher price.

“The council has also considered the public interest test in relation to the release of this info.

“The council accepts that there is a public interest in transparency where the activities of public authorities are concerned.

“However, in this situation the council believes that disclosure would detrimentally impact upon its ability to bring in monies and that there is a greater public interest in public authorities securing maximum funding of this type to lessen the burden on the public purse.”