New policy for A-boards and signage goes live

News release from 22 September 2017, 3:42pm

A NEW POLICY to reduce street clutter and improve accessibility across the whole of Cambridge, by managing advertising boards and signs on pavements, roads and in public areas, has gone live.

The policy has been developed by Cambridge City Council following consultation with residents and businesses, and an accessibility review, which found that street clutter and obstructions cause difficulties for pedestrians, especially the disabled, wheelchair users and those with buggies, in moving around the city’s streets.

The new policy will:

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

The policy will 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.

During consultation on the draft policy between February and April 2017, a common response from businesses was that an initial education period was necessary as part of the implementation for the new policy, with formal enforcement action not taking place until the end of the initial education period.

The council committed to an initial four month education and enforcement amnesty period in the run up to the policy being enforced.

This education period started in July and runs until 19 November, during which time all city businesses will be visited and advised of how the new policy will affect them. Enforcement action on the policy begins from 20 November.

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

“I have recently been on an access visit of the city centre, where I attempted to navigate the streets in a self-propelled wheelchair. Badly-placed A-boards were one of the problems we faced as we tried to get around. This experience really rammed home how important this policy is going to be in helping to make our streets more accessible.

“Now that we have an approved policy we can start to move forward with reducing the street clutter and I look forward to the positive effect that will have on the city.”