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Decision for Businesses to Move their Advertising Boards Upheld by Hampshire County Council

Andover News - Decision for Businesses to Move their Advertising Boards Upheld by Hampshire County Council

Hampshire County Council last week wrote to sixty-nine businesses in Andover Town Centre, to inform them that they must remove any advertising boards in pedestrian areas. This had caused a huge uproar by local shop keepers, who rely on the boards as a way of directing footfall to their businesses.

Andover & Villages spoke to shopkeepers in the area to ask what they thought about the letter, in which 30 days notice has been given to comply. Louise Ellison of Lulu’s Boutique in Waterloo Court said, “Advertising boards are imperative to those of us in side streets.”

Speaking to Nicola Pumfrey of Ladida, based at the rear of Bridge Street Andover, she told AaV, “Ladida is a little off the beaten track and so signage is very important to direct customers to us. I have spent a lot of money in the past producing some high quality signage, and this new ruling is no doubt going to affect our business.”

Jared, from Heavenly Sweets in Union Street, is very upset at this latest decision, and told Andover & Villages, “We, along with many others, cannot afford the rent and rates in the High Street and so we have had to choose shops in side streets and alleys. This means that advertising boards are imperative to let people know where we are. I monitor where my customers come from and our advertising board accounts for 10% of our business. Our board is next to a pole in the High Street and, in our opinion, does not impair anyone’s ability to negotiate the path.”

Andover & Villages was able to catch up with Chris Gregory, who was recently appointed as the Andover Town Centre Manager. He told us, “I support businesses’ rights to promote their shops and products, but also respect the need for safety and upholding the law, but there does need to be a balance and a compromise between the two.”

Speaking on behalf of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said, “I understand that A-boards are used as a means of advertising, but when a number of businesses are all putting these out in a pedestrian area, it can impact on people’s ability to move freely about the town. We have recently written to businesses in Andover to ask them to remove their A-boards from the public highway for this reason.”

He went on to say, “A-boards cause particular difficulties for pedestrians with sight or mobility problems, and for people with pushchairs, who can find it difficult to manoeuvre around them safely. We need to balance supporting the local economy with making sure the footway is safe and that there is enough room for everyone to use the high street without difficulty or worry.”

Earlier this morning, a local website reported that County Councillor, Tony Hooke, had stated there was a reprieve for local businesses, and they did not have to remove their advertising boards. Andover & Villages contacted Seán Woodward again, who dismissed the claims, and said, “My original statement still stands. We endeavour to be reasonable and have given businesses one month to remove their A-Boards from the public highway.”

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Thank you to Paul Scicluna for the pictures