It is possible that, four years after there was a compromise deal made between the council of York and York traders, there might be a new ban of advertising A-boards on the pavements in the city centre.
According to the City of York Council, they recently looked at A-boards throughout the city centre pavements and discovered that there were close to 150 of them that were blocking traffic. The authority said that the A-boards had gotten in the way of their efforts to reduce clutter on the streets. As a result, they might now be introducing a zero tolerance policy.
A-Board Ban looming
Businesses in the centre of the city who make use of the boards ridiculed the suggestion, calling it silly, and said that trying to enforce the ban would do damage to trade throughout the city.
This is not the first time there has been conflict between the businesses and the city council. Back in 2008, the council threatened to levy a 2500 pound fine against businesses that refused to remove their boards. According to the council at the time, the boards had the potential to cause accidents by blocking pavements. However, the following year, they changed course, informing traders that they were not likely to take any action as long as boards were propped up by buildings for support.
Next week, there will be a report that scrutiny officers conducted that will be presented in front of the community safety and scrutiny board of the council. Within the report, it was noted that there were fewer resources allotted to the issue. As a result, the issue was not being enforced nearly as much as it had been in the past.
The report added that there was a growing amount of concern regarding how much obstruction was occurring along the footway. The problem was particularly significant for people who had mobility or visibility concerns, such as those with partial sight or blindness or those with wheelchairs.
According to the report, having A-boards become as popular again as they once were in the city centre has lain to waste the majority of the decluttering work the city council did.
The report additionally stated that Merrett, the member of the council responsible for sustainability, had begun to think the city centre needed to become a zero tolerance zone for the benefit of the people who had to traverse it.
Within the report, it was noted that there were some businesses that potentially benefited from the boards since they were not in high visibility locations. Keeping that in mind, they were looking to resolve the issue while still making sure to remove the majority of boards currently present.
The report added that A-boards were also becoming an issue to deal with in a range of other places, such as Clifton Greene. There, they are planning on putting a city centre policy into place for A-boards starting in 2013 to 2014 year.
Naturally, not every business owner is happy that the city is trying to put pedestrians ahead of their profits. Jason Hawkins is the owner of two pubs in Castlegate and Coppergate. He said that the idea of a zero tolerance zone was simply ridiculous, particularly in the present economic environment when, he added, it was the responsibility of the council to do more to help local businesses do well.
He added that times were difficult to begin with, and having A-boards was a rather affordable way for most businesses to get some publicity in an effective manner. He went on to say that the majority of business owners were responsible and took care to keep their signage from blocking pavements.
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