New zero tolerance approach in enforcing A-board policy now in force

A zero tolerance approach of enforcement of the Council’s A-board policy begins this week to support businesses while keeping streets in Bath and North East Somerset safe and free from clutter.

A boards
This is how bad it used to be at the Union Street end of The Corridor.!

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 repeatedly 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 working with the Bath Business Improvement District (BID) to install temporary advertising columns with removable plaques at the Corridor in Bath, on a trial basis.

The same site – a couple of days ago!

Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “We know how important advertising can be and, working with the Bath BID, we will do all that we can to support local businesses to thrive in Bath and North East Somerset.

Cllr Veal & Jon Raby
Councillor Martin Veal, Cabinet Member for Community Services, and Jon Raby, Ranger Services Manager at the Bath Business Improvement District, outside the Corridor in Bath where temporary advertising columns with removable plaques are set to be installed as an alternative to A-boards.

But we must make sure that any form of promotion does not stop people enjoying the streets in our city and towns. We have had problems with A-boards causing an obstruction to pedestrians and safety has to be our priority. This robust approach to enforcement will therefore leave no room for excuses – if it’s breaking the rules it will be impounded.”

Louise Prynne, Chief Executive of the Bath Business Improvement District (BID) said “The Bath BID has already started reminding levy payers in our newsletter of the regulations governing the use of A-boards and advising them of the clampdown. On top of this, our BID Rangers have been delivering leaflets to businesses in the city centre advising them of the guidelines to ensure that the offending A Boards adhere to these, and we are already seeing positive results.

“However, the BID appreciates that effective signage is crucial for many businesses, so the BID is currently sourcing options for a trial of vertical pole designs. These will allow businesses to signpost themselves without presenting a hazard, and will also enhance wayfinding around the city centre. Retailers we have spoken to have welcomed the news that the Bath BID is taking a proactive approach in partnership with the Council to develop and progress an innovative solution.”

Under the new approach, which comes into force this week, 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 Council will be focusing on enforcement in Bath city centre initially with support from Bath BID Rangers, but the policy applies throughout the district and action will also be taken in other areas in due course.

Daniel Berry, Drop-in Coordinator for deafPLUS/visionPLUS, said: “We fully support the Council’s A-board initiative. It will help ensure our streets are safe, accessible, welcoming places for so many disabled people, especially people who are visually impaired.”

Fliers have been distributed to businesses in the area and Council officers and BID rangers have also been explaining the rules to A-board owners.

For more information, visit

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.

Is this a way of beating the system? Keep the A board on the move!

Further information:

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 typefaces 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.


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