Capital recruits the A-Team for advertising board purge

Picture: A-boards at Royal Mile, Morningside Road, Tollcross and Haymarket, TSPL
Picture: A-boards at Royal Mile, Morningside Road, Tollcross and Haymarket, TSPL
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Council aims to ban street signage in time for Christmas

Edinburgh City Council wants to ban all advertising boards from the Capital’s cluttered streets in time for Christmas to create a “level playing field” for businesses and pavement users.

The plans for a citywide ban have gained the backing of blind charities and the authority will work with businesses affected by the ban to help ensure other advertising methods can be put in place.

Proposals would see an army of enforcement officers recruited to make sure the ban isn’t flouted, not just in the city centre but across the Capital.

Cllr Lesley Macinnes, transport and environment convener, said: “It definitely causes problems.

“People are having to weave in and out of structures that move all the time – they’re never in one spot. These boards are put out in odd spots, they are put out where they’re not supposed to be.”

She added: “Our intention is to look at delivering a city-wide ban on all forms of temporary on-street

advertising structures. There is a real genuine attempt to remove this as a problem. We know that we will have support on this from a number of external stakeholders.

“People should be able to move around the city safely and securely with a certain expectation of being able to access everything that they need to do.”

The council will work with businesses, particularly smaller traders to develop methods to mitigate any potential negative financial impact.

Read more: Kevin Buckle: City needs to make value judgements about stalls

Cllr Macinnes added: “Clearly there’s a degree of impact on the businesses involved. We emphasise that we support small businesses – particularly those that sit in out of the way locations.

“We need to find some ways to help support those businesses that will be genuinely impacted by the loss of those A-boards. We are looking at all sorts of methods and that will come forward in the coming months about how we might be able to support those companies. It’s about a level playing field for the people using the streets as well as the businesses.”

The council points out that advertising boards can also “significantly detract from the appearance of the city’s streets”.

Cllr Karen Doran believed removing street furniture is “a huge equalities issue”.

She added: “It is massively supported by the city centre residents who have for many years had to tackle these obstacles in their way.”

Advertising boards were banned on the Royal Mile, Princes Street, Rose Street and Rose Street Lanes in 2010 but the council has found

enforcement “challenging”. They consulted with various groups.

A spokesperson for sight loss charity RNIB Scotland said: “We welcome this move by Edinburgh City Council to make the Capital’s streets safer and more inclusive for residents and visitors with disabilities.

“It’s something our street charter has been pressing for throughout the country. While we, of course, want business to prosper, our streets should not be an obstacle course to be negotiated.”

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