THE A-BOARD POLICE ARE BORN
(This is not a leg pull folks!)
Listen up everybody. What follows is High Strategy. Not for the mockers. It clearly shows that our District Council has got its priorities right. While some people may believe that pollution, parking and HGVs are the biggest problem, the WODC gets right to the heart of the matter - with a major assault on those annoying advertising boards .
On THURSDAY 24TH MARCH 2005 THE STREET SCENE ENFORCEMENT POLICY WORKING PARTY (or WODCSSEPWP for short) report to the ENVIRONMENT OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE with its RECOMMENDATIONS about A BOARDS. (You couldn't make this up)
Continued concern has been expressed that there has been a proliferation of double-sided advertisement signs, commonly known as A boards, primarily displayed in town centre locations within the District. Such advertisements are usually located on the pavements in front of retail, food and drink or other commercial premises and are sited there to draw attention to the goods or services available within the premises.
The Study Group gave their general support to a pilot enforcement scheme in Witney. It was acknowledged that this would be a contentious issue. Under Section 132 of the Highways Act 1980 the Highways Authority (Oxfordshire County Council) may remove any advertisement. Such powers have been transferred by Oxfordshire County Council to the four Districts within Oxfordshire.
HOW THE "A" BOARD POLICE WILL WORK
In order to ensure that the officers are fully equipped to properly enforce relevant legislation they will require comprehensive training in the specific legislation they will be expected to apply and in the investigative and evidence gathering process.
Initial survey Any enforcement decision on A boards will need to be communicated to all businesses. Given the possible contentious nature of removing A boards it is essential that any communication plan allows adequate time, provides maximum impact and clearly and effectively communicate its intentions, in order that those who currently utilise this method of advertisement understand the risk and consequences of continuing these actions.
The following highlights the actions officers will take prior to the enforcement of the A Board strategy.
To review locations where A boards are currently displayed and log all sites.
To make a photographic record of each A board.
To decide in each case whether the A board is on the public highway.
Initial Correspondence To write to each owner or occupant of business property notifying them that there is a requirement to obtain an express consent from the Council to display any A board and that the board should be removed until such consent has been granted. (Based upon the assessment made above). To advise owners or occupiers that unacceptable A boards should be removed. Continued display is likely to result in the initiation of legal proceedings and/or direct action. (Removal of advert by Street Scene).
Secondary Correspondence To write a secondary letter highlighting offence and consequences of failure to comply and indicating date of commencement of enforcement action.