Action at last on the A-board issue – but with the enforcement comes an offer to help hard pressed local traders to promote their businesses in safer and less obstructive ways!
All this comes in an official B&NES press release.
“A zero tolerance approach has been adopted in the enforcement of the Council’s A-board policy that will support businesses while keeping streets in the Bath and North East Somerset safe and free from clutter.
The Council’s Cabinet are supporting a recommendation from Councillor Martin Veal, Cabinet Member for Community Services, and officers to take a more robust enforcement approach which will see the boards confiscated if the rules under the Council’s Footway Obstructions Policy for A-boards are broken.
The rules permit businesses in the district to display one board against their property, but they must leave a 1.5 metre width of footway for pedestrians and they must also not be within 1.5 metres of any other A-board or any permanent or temporary item of street furniture, such as bus stops and bins.
However, in order to support the area’s businesses, the Council is looking to install temporary advertising columns with removable plaques in places where many businesses wish to use A-boards, such as the Corridor and Northumberland Passage in Bath city centre. The Council will be working on this solution with the Bath Business Improvement District (BID) and Chambers of Commerce across the district over the coming weeks.
Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “The Council understands the importance of advertising in keeping our businesses thriving in Bath and North East Somerset, but we must make sure that this does not stop people enjoying the streets in our city and towns.
A-boards are a great way to attract customers’ attention, especially if businesses are inside alleys or streets, but we have had problems with them causing an obstruction to pedestrians and safety must always come first. This robust approach to enforcement will therefore leave no room for excuses – if it’s breaking the rules it will be impounded.”
Under the new approach, if businesses persist in breaching the rules then the board will be removed and kept for three months before being disposed of. If owners wish to reclaim the board they will have to collect from the Council’s Bath storage facility and there will be a charge to the owner of £100 for release.
The zero tolerance approach will apply immediately where there are health and safety issues and stricter rules around the positioning of A Boards will come into force in late May.
The Footway Obstructions Policy for A-boards Policy only covers A-Boards and does not therefore cover advertising using unattended bicycles and display of other goods/trade stands.
Rules under the Footway Obstructions Policy for A-boards:
• Businesses in the district are “permitted” to display one board under the Highways Act 1980.
• Use only one board per property. Where there is more than one business operating from a building then a shared board should be considered.
• Vibrant colours will not be appropriate in the Conservation Area and close to listed buildings where more traditional subdued colours and type-faces will be required, with modestly sized lettering and well-balanced design. (Planning Officers to adjudicate this).
• Place it against the frontage or property boundary.
• Leave a minimum of 1.5m width of footway for pedestrians. If this is not possible an A-board cannot be used here.
• It must not be within 1.5 metres of any other A-board, or any permanent or temporary item of street furniture such as bus stops, benches, cycle stands and litter bins
• It must be no bigger than 660mm wide and between 750mm and1250mm high.
• It must be freestanding and not chained or tied to the building, railings, or to street furniture.
• It must be cleaned and maintained in good condition
• It must be stable and not weighed down by sandbags.
• It must not have any sharp edges.
• Swinging or rotating boards are prohibited.
• It must not carry an offensive or political message.
• It must not obstruct visibility or junctions, or obstruct access to business premises, particularly for disabled customers and the emergency services.
• It must not be put out before 8.30 am to assist regular street cleaning. It must be removed from the street when the property is closed or other street cleansing work is taking place.
• It must be removed when weather conditions such as high winds could make the boards unstable.
• It must be covered by the owner’s public liability insurance.