Fury as council removes fete signs

By James HoreTHE organisers of a village fete have been left shocked after a council ripped down signs advertising the event in an effort to tackle illegal fly-posting.

By James Hore

THE organisers of a village fete have been left shocked after a council ripped down signs advertising the event in an effort to tackle illegal fly-posting.

When the signs and posters for last Saturday's Gosfield fete initially disappeared, it was feared mischief-makers had stolen them.

But village fete organisers were stunned to learn a “clean team” from Braintree District Council had taken away all the signs as part of its zero-tolerance approach.


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The council said yesterday that banners celebrating birthdays would also be pulled down as part of its policy.

But Brooks Newmark, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Braintree, called for common sense to prevail.

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“Whoever made this decision is missing the point of the anti-social behaviour provision on fly-posting,” he said.

“In my experience village fetes are generally run by responsible, well-meaning members of our local communities in aid of a local initiative for the benefit of the community as a whole.

“Is this type of advertising for this sort of event really what people consider anti-social behaviour?”

Mr Newmark felt the council should target people fly-posting for personal or corporate gain, not those raising money for their communities.

But Roger Walters, the council's cabinet member for environment, said: “We cannot expect our men to decide what is a good cause on what is not, we have to be careful that we are not accused of discriminating against one particular event.

“It is unfortunate that some were removed, but everybody has known that if you put up fly posters and signs, there is the risk of them coming down. They have always been removed by the county council or the district council.”

He added: “The clean team have been told to remove fly-posting and while I have every sympathy with the organisers of the parish fete, the reality is they were always likely to be removed and it is the parishes which came to us and said they had a problem with fly-posting.”

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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