The Council are seeking the public’s views on ‘A-board’ advertising in the city centre. Residents and businesses are being asked for feedback about the use of the boards, which have been an ongoing topic of debate for many years.
Guidelines were being introduced back in 2010 following complaints from the public that the streets were being turned into “obstacle courses”. The boards have been a particular issue due to the large number on display in the city’s many narrow, often cobbled streets.
The existence of The Rows means that retailers on both levels are competing for the same street space. Critics say this makes the streets appear cluttered and less attractive. A boards cause particular problems for the visually impaired and for wheelchair users, or parents with pushchairs. The council are proposing two options.
1 ) The first option is to introduce a licensing regime for ‘A’ boards. Businesses in a defined area would have to apply for a licence to display an ‘A’ board and a licence would be granted under the Highways Act 1980 following an assessment by a highways officer. This would also require advertising consent and this would be built in to a single application process.
The council say that if this option was introduced, formal action would be taken against business owners who display a rogue unlicensed board.
2) The second option would be a blanket ban zero tolerance approach on all A boards. Illegal boards would be seized.
Councillor Mark Henesy said: “Over the next few weeks we will be listening to everyone’s views and working with a range of groups to come up with a proposal that we feel acknowledges as many people’s interests as possible.
“We appreciate that businesses need to promote their services and bring in custom but we need to consider the safety of passing pedestrians.” The councillor claimed that “the sheer number of boards currently in use is spoiling the look of our historic city for residents and visitors.” . Are there too many A boards , or are they legitimate advertising tools for businesses, particularly those hidden away on the Rows? And is there a third way in between a blanket ban and licensing ?
The consultation will run for 12 weeks until 5 July and there are a number of ways to express your views:
* Complete a paper questionnaire * Go online to http://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/chesteraboardsreview
* Email Aboards@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk
* Telephone: 01244 972887
* Write to Regulatory Services, Cheshire West and Chester Council, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BE