There are proposals in place to impose a £100 fine on traders that are known to have had A-boards near their premises. Opponents have criticised the proposals as a non-starter and a ridiculous waste of resources. Supporters say this step was inevitable if anyone ever expected to see a crackdown on the practice. An in-house review of the city centre is in process, including means for reducing these numbers.
Councillor Simon Cronin is at the forefront of the project. Councillor Cronin wants levying charges so that there is a war chest to better enforce policy.
The city council’s finance cabinet member, Councillor Richard Boorn, has argued the whole concept of charges is not the practical solution the situation requires. The sudden splurge of boards throughout Worcester is not going to be resolved with a bunch of fines on the business community.
He does not disagree with the idea something needs to be done. He has stated shop owners do have a legal obligation to consider the disabled and partially sighted individuals on the street, and undoubtedly these boards are a hindrance to their movement. Still, the solution requires common sense and no one on the council has really given the situation serious consideration.
Dispensing with the proposals for fines, Boorn has countered with the idea of a corridor running down High Street. This way shops will have an area to put A-boards and pedestrians will have a clear path. The current situation, he attests, is a free for all. With boundaries, the situation would take care of itself.
This argument has been rejected by Councillor Cronin. He believes this is a problem no one can afford to underestimate. He did his own personal audit of the situation and counted over 200 A-boards blocking the streets in one area alone before giving up. He believes regardless of options, some form of charging has to be considered. He does admit that the £100 proposal was only a suggestion.
He believes the fine is only realistic. If the issue is utilising the attention of the council whose actions could result in enforcement, a cost should be attached to it. It only makes sense to retrieve that cost. It is about creating a flourishing environment for businesses and not imposing intrusion on the amenities of the city centre.
Councilor Richard Boorne has been in term since 2012. He is also an appointee to the Armchair Project Management Committee, the Disablement Information Advice Line and the Thomas Corbett Charity for the Visually Impaired. On the council, he holds the title Portfolio Holder.
Councillor Simon Cronin started serving in 2007, currently holding the title Vice Chairman, Scrutiny Committee. He is an appointee of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Worcester Housing and Benefits Advice Centre, Worcester Twinning Association and the PATROL Adjudication Joint Committee.