Businesses on Edinburgh's Royal Mile blasted for alleged breach of street-ad ban

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A complaint has been lodged with the council over the alleged breach.

Businesses on the Royal Mile are under investigation for allegedly breaching the citywide street ad ban.

One concerned local shared a photo of several boards on the Old Town pavement on X and copied in the council, saying 'When you run a third of shops on the Royal Mile are you exempt from the on street advertising ban.'

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The photo shows two boards advertising a tour company and one for a restaurant. Locals and councillors have hit out at the businesses for causing obstruction on one of the Capital's busiest streets.

A ban on all temporary on-street advertising structures including advertising boards, known as 'A' boards came into force in November 2018. The move was aimed at improving pedestrian safety and accessibility.

Following the post on social media the alleged breach was reported by city centre councillor Finlay McFarlane and an investigation has now been lodged.

One local resident responded: "Cannot believe they can have seats and A-boards like this, not leaving enough room for wheelchair users. The alternative cannot even be a road as the road is cobbled and I know from experience totally unusable to wheelchair users."

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Cllr McFarlane said: "Residents across Edinburgh are doing their part to adhere to the new changes and park responsibly to free pavements for vulnerable pedestrians. The A-board ban is not new and so it really sticks in the craw to see businesses not doing their part to keep pavements clear, especially on one of the busiest parts of the city."

After the citywide roll-out of the ban in 2018, traders called for it to be halted amid claims small firms were being disadvantaged.

The Federation of Small Businesses previously said their members reported a drop in turnover following the ban, with those in basement premises, in lanes, or in side streets adjoining a main road among those hardest hit.

Council chiefs have blasted the use of A-boards, saying it restricts access for vulnerable road users.

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Cllr Scott Arthur Environment Convener said: “A citywide ban on all temporary on-street advertising structures was introduced in 2018 to create safer, more accessible streets, particularly for those with disabilities such as sight impairments and mobility difficulties. Businesses were made aware of this at the time and we’ve since provided advice and support on the changes and alternative options for advertising.

“While most businesses comply with these rules, street enforcement officers patrol the city to carry out enforcement where necessary, and people can also report breaches of the ban on our website. I’m glad that these A-boards have been raised with the team, as they cause obstructions on an extremely busy street, particularly for vulnerable road users.”

The tour company and restaurant have been contacted for comment.

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