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Ashes wager to settle Shane Warne poster row

PUBLISHED: 17:45 03 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:17 07 September 2010

Carl Howell with the Shane Warne poster

Carl Howell with the Shane Warne poster

Katie Davies THE Australian cricketer Shane Warne is no stranger to controversy. But now he has found himself at the centre of an unusual row on the other side of the world – between a Camden Town businessman and council chiefs. It was sparked after fell

Katie Davies

THE Australian cricketer

Shane Warne is no stranger to controversy.

But now he has found himself at the centre of an unusual row on the other side of the world - between a Camden Town businessman and council chiefs.

It was sparked after fellow antipodean Carl Howell, of Advanced Hair Studio UK in Fitzroy Square, put up a poster of Mr Warne, who is the firm's spokesman, in one of the shop's filled-in windows.

But Camden Council says the poster contravened planning rules and is calling for the removal of the sporting legend's image.

But Mr Howell is refusing to budge and has instead called on the council to join him in a wager over next week's Ashes tour.

If Australia win, he is allowed to keep the poster. If England win, he will remove it and pay £5,000 to the council's charity of choice.

The 59-year-old founder of the clinic, which treats hair loss, said: "Shane is our spokesman and we thought it was our right to put up a poster in our own window.

"But the council came around asking us to take it down.

"Apparently, it can't be considered a window because there is no glass in it, which seems strange to me.

"I've only just arrived back here in Australia and the Ashes were quite the topic in London before I left. So I decided to throw out this light-hearted challenge to Camden.

"I think Australia is pretty safe. But if they lose I will be happy to pay out to a good cause.

"The business has been open in the UK for about 25 years now and I come and go between England and Australia.

"But when it comes to cricket, I'm an Aussie. I have a lot of sympathies for England and they are my second side. But not when it comes to the Ashes."

The cricket series starts in Britain next Wednesday - with a test taking place a stone's throw from the shop at Lord's in St John's Wood from July 16.

Mr Warne, who will be part of Sky Sports' commentary team, said that if the wager was taken up, the council would "be relieved" that he had retired from the sport.

But Camden Council said it was unlikely the bet would be accepted - although it didn't state if Mr Warne's image would be forcibly removed before the Ashes begin.

"Following complaints from local residents the council has asked Mr Howell to remove the poster attached to his office building," said a spokeswoman.

"Advanced Hair Studio occupies a Grade I-listed building, which means it is unsuitable for commercial advertising.

"Mr Howell would need to apply for special consent to attach advertising to the building.

"Much as we appreciate the humorous side of Mr Howell's 'wager', the council has a duty to uphold conservation regulations for the benefit of all residents and businesses."

The council's reluctance to take the bet isn't thought to be based on their expectations for England's performance in the contest.


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