September 21 2014 Latest news:
West Suffolk senior reporter
Thursday, August 14, 2014
A councillor has called for decisive action to tackle business A-boards in a Bury St Edmunds street where they are blocking the pavement.
Councillor David Nettleton was referring to St John’s Street, but he also said the system around the regulation of A-boards in the town as a whole needed to be resolved.
After a constituent complained to him, he visited the road and said there was not room for one person in each direction to pass at the same time.
But Mark Richmond, owner of Bay Tree, one of a number of firms in the street which uses A-boards, said there was no problem with pedestrian access due to his sign, which he said he had placed on the pavement outside his cafe to deter drivers from parking there.
Business leader Mark Cordell said for some independent businesses A-boards were an important way to promote their services.
But he added: “It’s clearly important they don’t present a danger to the public and therefore it’s a balancing act really.”
A borough council spokeswoman said the authority was “yet to find a solution” to resolve the complexity of the various laws and powers around A-boards.
In order to gain approval to use the signs, traders currently have to satisfy the local planning authority as well as notify the highways authority.
The spokeswoman said the council was always keen to support local businesses and, with this in mind, “a light approach has been taken to the enforcement of regulations which has clearly benefitted traders”.
To achieve balance between supporting firms and reducing the risk to shoppers, the council is set to consult with traders and the public on the issue, she said.
Suffolk County Council said each reported obstruction would be looked at individually, adding a distance of 1.8m is required for people to walk through.