Council seek clampdown on city trader A-boards

A boards in Gentlemans Walk, Norwich. Photo : Steve Adams

A boards in Gentlemans Walk, Norwich. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

They are one of the most traditional, and simplest, marketing techniques and have dotted our streets for decades. But the humble A-board is now facing a clampdown in Norwich.

The city council has unveiled an 11-point plan governing the use of the boards, amid complaints from some that they are too numerous and present a hazard.

Included in the draft policy are proposals to limit A-boards to one per shop, and giving the council powers to remove any 'deemed an obstruction'.

However, traders have already attacked the proposals and defended the use of the boards, which they say provide vital advertising, particularly for stalls hidden deep within the market.

Michael Smith, of Banger Stop in Norwich Market, said the council should be supporting traders rather than shackling them..

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'They have consultation after consultation but it doesn't help the situation,' he said.

'They can sit in committees and think this stuff up but it doesn't do any good. We need to be supported by the council, not restricted. The whole market is so entrapped by new rules and regulations it leads to more empty stalls.'

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Steve Prentice, of Norwich Providore, said: 'We get a lot of custom from people seeing the boards, because there is nothing else for them to see what is in the market. 'I know there are problems for people with sight issues, but I worry this would discriminate against certain traders. 'There is a real problem getting people in to the market and this won't help.'

Similar discussions are underway among landlords at the Royal Arcade, which would not fall under the remit of the council, as it is a private precinct.

Wayne Hinton, manager of Marmalade in the Royal Arcade, said the council proposals were 'all very sensible'. 'The different sizes and amount of A-boards are an issue,' he said. 'That said if they take them away we lose a good source of advertising.

'If they are obstructing footfall it is wrong but they are beneficial to catering businesses like ours who need to advertise our menus.'

The draft policy on A-boards city-wide is now open for public consultation.

In terms of enforcement, the suggestion is that highways officers will monitor A-boards as part of their current roles and the council will also respond to complaints about breaches of the new regulations.

Councillor Bert Bremner, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for environment and sustainable development, said the policy is 'about striking the right balance.'

'Over the last few months we have been working with a range of groups to come up with a proposal that we feel acknowledges as many people's interests as possible,' he said.

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