Tag: A-Boards

Shropshire Council cabinet votes not to introduce charges for A-Boards – for now

It was a good decision. A task and finish group set up by Shropshire Council had recommended that hefty annual charges should be imposed on businesses for having A-Boards outside their property. The brakes were put on that proposal at the council’s cabinet yesterday councillors expressed unease about yet another charge on small businesses, especially at a time when they will be struggling due to recover from Covid-19. I remain opposed to charges for A-Boards but we need stronger guidance on where they are placed. We should only introduce charges if retailers don’t follow those new guidelines A-Boards.

Shropshire Council wants to regulate A-Boards and charge small traders in Ludlow up to £213 a board

A-Boards can be a hazard to the partially sighted. Boards can be a problem for families with child buggies. They can be unsightly. But they are also essential for local businesses, many of which are on side alleys. Most people I have spoken to do not want to get rid of A-Boards. They want more care in where they are positioned. My proposed guidelines on resolving this have been ignored. Having rejected charges for A-Boards in December 2018, Shropshire Council is now about to reverse its position. It aiming to charge £213 an A-Board for the first year and £111 a year thereafter. Only one A-Board will be allowed per premises. This is mindless bureaucracy driven by officers and councillors who have lost their understanding of the importance of the independent retail market to rural market towns like Ludlow. They are determined to pursue this tax and ruin policy.

Shropshire Council to review policy for high street A-Boards

At the end of last year, Shropshire Council came up with proposals to strictly control the way businesses place A-Boards outside their premises and sometimes much further away. A minority of A-Boards are placed carelessly and are an impediment to the partially sighted and mobility impaired. The council proposals were rejected as over the top by the Place Overview committee. Now Shropshire Council is asking town and parish councils their views. I am surprised that it is not also asking traders but I would suggest that any traders with concerns should respond either to their local council or directly to Shropshire Council. Details are in the briefing note below.

Shropshire Council has been flirting with plans to licence every A-Board in the county. Those ideas didn’t get through the Place Overview Committee yesterday. Everyone agreed that a licencing and charging scheme was the wrong approach. Instead, the committee asked officers to work with local councillors and communities to draw up clearer guidance on where A-Boards can be placed to ensure safety of pavement users, including those with limited mobility and visual impairment. We agreed it would more effective for responsibility for “policing” of A-Boards should be devolved from Shropshire Council to town councils. This is good news. Shropshire Council should not overregulate and we should manage the day-to-day business of the town ourselves.

Ludlow is a town of one hundred A-Boards – should we make retailers pay for using the pavement like Liverpool?

A-Boards can be a hazard to the blind and partially sighted. They can be a problem for families with child buggies. But they are also essential for local businesses, many of which are on side alleys or not immediately in sight. For the best part of a decade, we have endured a debate between “Love A-Boards” and “Hate A-Boards” in Ludlow. That debate could be moving towards an end after a Shropshire Council meeting next Friday. I walked around the town centre yesterday and counted 98 A-Boards – 74 were on the public highway and 24 on private land. The debate is now on whether this is right for our town. The urgency of the debate is driven by Shropshire Council’s wish to regulate all A-Boards in the county and to charge retailers for the privilege of putting the signs on the highway. What the council is proposing comes across as overregulation.

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