Chichester District Council to discuss A board enforcement

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MEMBERS of Chichester District Council’s planning committee will today (Wednesday, August 21) debate proposals to remove unauthorised A boards from the city centre.

Officers are recommending the council uses its planning enforcement powers to stop unauthorised A boards being used.

When businesses will not remove the signs voluntarily officers propose either instigating legal proceedings or using powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to remove unauthorised displays of advertising.

A report set to be considered by councillors today said the council had held back on enforcement before because during the ‘economic downturn’ it was: “Not considered appropriate to instigate formal enforcement action against businesses that appear to derive up to 30 per cent of their business from the display of A boards.”

However, in June 2013, there were 198 A boards displayed in the city centre, up from 86 in 2006.

“Their use has therefore become an even greater issue in the intervening period and causes concern in terms of visual harm and, in some cases, highway obstruction,” said the report.

However, it also acknowledges the change is likely to have a negative impact on businesses in the city.

“For the business community the enforced removal of A board advertisements will adversely impact upon the number of visitors to their premises and ultimately the loss of income.”

Today’s discussion is likely to spark debate outside the council chamber. Some say A boards are vital to support business, adding to a vibrant street scene, while others say they are a hazard, particularly to the blind and partially sighted.

The proposals will be debated after the planning applications at today’s Chichester District Council planning committee meeting.

The meeting starts at 10am at East Pallant House.