Council set to tackle ‘hazard’ of A-boards

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RESIDENTS and businesses are to be consulted over plans for a revised permit scheme for allowing A- boards in St Edmundsbury.

The move comes after the council received complaints from residents who say they are an unsightly hazard, and from businesses.

Risbygate Street Traders Association last year accused the council of unfairly treating the landlady of the St Edmunds Tavern after telling her she needed to apply for licensing and planning permission for her A-boards.

“There is no doubt that the number of advertising boards on the streets is increasing probably in response to the current difficult economic situation, and the council has received many complaints from residents who think these boards are unsightly and potentially hazardous to pedestrians with limited sight or mobility,” said a report to Wednesday’s overview and scrutiny committee.

It said there had been a massive increase in businesses putting up A-boards without permits, which had led to complaints.

Elsewhere, Kingston-Upon-Thames has put a complete ban on A-boards.

But the borough council report said: “This is a rather extreme response to a relatively minor problem.”

It also said it would be unpopular with businesses and costly to enforce.

The council has looked at two schemes used elsewhere. One is a permit scheme where businesses pay about £60 for a permit, the money is then used for enforcement.

The other is a voluntary scheme where traders are asked to comply with guidelines.

The overview and scrutiny report is recommending that the council consult with business groups, residents associations over a simplified, cheaper revived permit scheme.