New policy for A-boards and signage aims to make city more accessible and attractive

News release from 9 January 2017, 2:04pm

A NEW policy to reduce street clutter and improve accessibility across the city by managing advertising boards and promotional signs on pavements and in public areas is set to go out for consultation.

A report to Cambridge City Council’s Community Services Scrutiny Committee recommends carrying out the consultation with the public and local businesses on a proposed new policy for advertising signage, which would cover the whole of the city.

The draft policy has been developed following a City Centre Accessibility Review, where a key finding was that street clutter and obstructions cause difficulties to pedestrians, the disabled and wheelchair users in moving around the city’s streets for their daily needs.

Since the review was agreed in 2015, the council has surveyed advertising signage in the city centre and sought the views of local businesses, as well as looked at how other cities and towns manage the issue.

Proposals in the draft Advertising ‘A’ Board and Sign Policy include:

  • Limiting ‘A’ boards or similar advertising signs to a maximum of one per business;
  • Ensuring signs are placed against buildings and not causing obstructions, and that at least 1.5m of unobstructed footway is left clear;
  • Removing signs from public places when the business is closed;
  • Developing a more standard approach to the size, shape and design of advertising signage.

The policy would apply to all free-standing advertising structures, including A-boards, directional signs and information signs, placed on the ground on public roads, pedestrian areas and open spaces.

Under the new policy, the council’s Enforcement Team would also have the power to take action against any potential breaches.

Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Streets and Open Spaces, said: “The City Centre Accessibility Review highlighted that for many residents and visitors – especially the disabled, those in wheelchairs, or families with buggies – going shopping or enjoying leisure activities like visiting restaurants is made more difficult by the amount of street clutter like ‘A’ boards on what are often narrow pavements.

“We look forward to hearing from residents, local groups, visitors and traders on the proposals we are putting forward, so we can get this right for everyone.”

Cllr Smith is recommended to approve a consultation on the proposed policy at the meeting of Community Services Scrutiny Committee on 19 January. Cambridgeshire County Council has agreed to devolve legal enforcement powers relating to advertising signs on the public highway to the city council.