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Cambridge City Council

Council to take action on businesses breaching advertising boards policy to improve accessibility

24 October 2022

CAMBRIDGE City Council will be taking action on businesses whose use of advertising boards (A-boards) is found to be in breach of the council’s adopted Advertising Boards Policy.

Enforcement action will take place following a week-long amnesty, which began today, 24 October until 30 October. During this period the council will pursue a campaign of targeted awareness raising to ensure businesses understand the Policy and how to use A-boards in a compliant way. From Monday, 31 October, any business found to be in breach of the Policy will face council enforcement action, including being issued with fines and even legal proceedings.

The council’s A-Board Policy was adopted in 2017, following consultation with residents and businesses, and an accessibility review, which found that street clutter and obstructions cause difficulties for pedestrians, especially disabled people, wheelchair users and those with buggies.

The policy includes the following requirements:

  • limits use of A-boards or similar advertising signs to a maximum of one per business;
  • ensures A-boards or similar advertising signs are placed against buildings and are not causing obstructions, and that at least 1.5m of unobstructed footway is left clear for pedestrians;
  • requires a business to remove A-boards or similar advertising signs from public places when the business is closed;
  • develops a more standard approach to the size, shape and design of A-boards or similar advertising signage.

The policy applies to all free-standing advertising structures, including A-boards, directional signs and information signs, placed on the ground on public streets, footways and open spaces.

To support the city’s response to COVID, the council has taken a more relaxed view to enforcing the policy. However, with pedestrian footfall in the city now nearing pre-COVID levels and the scale of A-board use significantly increasing, the council has decided it was time to take action on those whose use of A-boards is in breach of the Policy.

Cllr Alice Gilderdale, Executive Councillor for Recovery, Employment and Community Safety, said: “Businesses and premises using advertising should comply to reduce the street clutter on what are often narrow public streets, footways and open spaces.

“Badly placed advertising boards are just one of the problems faced by those who have accessibility needs, and I’m glad that our Council enforcement team will be taking proactive action to help businesses understand and comply with the policy and so help residents and visitors access and enjoy the city more easily and safely.”