New Scheme Introduced to Control A-boards

A NEW scheme requiring businesses in Reading to have a licence to display an A-board outside their premises will come into effect 1st July.

The new policy is being introduced to tackle the problem of footways being obstructed by accumulations of advertising boards which are often too big for the location.

A-boards can make an area look cluttered and unsightly and cause problems for pedestrians – especially people who are visually impaired, who have mobility problems, wheelchair users and pedestrians with pushchairs.

The new licensing scheme will provide a uniform approach to ensure A-boards are an appropriate size,  are considerately placed and do not cause an obstruction.

Letters are now being sent to business owners advising them they must apply for a licence if they wish to display an A-board outside their premises. They will be given 28 days to apply.

Councillor Tony Page, Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“The Council appreciates and understands that businesses need to promote their services but this has to be done with consideration for pedestrians and the surrounding environment.

“There are currently a large number of A-boards on footways and verges across the borough which can cause considerable inconvenience and danger to pedestrians and the Council often receives complaints about them. Some of the boards are very big and completely inappropriate for their location.

“The new licensing scheme aims to strike the right balance to allow businesses to continue to advertise their services while keeping the highway clear for everyone.”

Business can apply for an A-board licence by visiting http://www.reading.gov.uk/licensing or can contact highways.licensing@reading.gov.uk for further information.

There will be a £60 fee for the first year and £50 fee for subsequent years to cover the cost of administering and regulating the scheme. Businesses which display an A-board without a licence will be given an opportunity to apply but will have their A-boards removed if they then fail to do so.

The A-board licensing scheme was agreed as part of the Highways Maintenance Policy by members of the Council’s Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee on 4th April 2017.

Notes to Editors

The report on the Council’s Highway Maintenance Policy agreed by members of the SEPT Committee in April can be found at: http://www.reading.gov.uk/article/9657/Strategic-Environment-Planning–Transport-Committee-4-APR-2017