City chiefs to look at advertising board ban
A BAN on advertising boards could be imposed on every street in the city centre, under proposals being considered by council chiefs.
The city council introduced a ban on business "A-boards" on the Royal Mile and Rose Street last summer in a bid to tidy up the appearance of the streets and reduce the risk of accidents. Now a full consultation is set to take place to look at whether the ban should be rolled out across all city centre streets.
The West End and Tollcross are among the areas where residents have said that a ban could be beneficial.
But a blanket ban would be likely to anger businesses, who say they can be an essential means of promoting themselves to potential customers.
Councillor David Beckett, convener of the City Centre Neighbourhood Partnership, said: "I think the pilot has been a success.
"It has not been so unanimously welcomed by businesses but the Old Town Community Council and Old Town residents have been annoyed by this issue for some time.
"In the Lawnmarket in particular it is a safety issue because the pavement is much narrower there.
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"If there is a uniform ban in selected streets or across the city centre it takes away any competitive advantage some businesses have over others. If everybody abides by the same rules then, to my mind, there is no need to have them."
Council officials are already looking at ways of reducing street clutter in the city centre and it is felt that banning A-boards could tie in with that process.
Since the ban came into force last July, environmental wardens have confiscated more than 30 A-boards, and sent warning letters to around a dozen businesses.
Council officials have also worked with businesses who are in locations such as lanes to look at alternatives, such as erecting advertising signs to buildings.
Cllr Beckett said: "If you think creatively and work with council officials then there are ways around it."
Glasgow City Council has banned all A-boards in its city centre and a blanket ban is supported by the community councils in the West End, Old Town, New Town and Broughton.
But Patrick Browne, chief executive of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association, said the signs are a vital way of promoting a business, especially if it is off the main streets.
He said: "They are a useful form of advertising, particularly in a city like Edinburgh where there are a lot of tourists whose first language is not English.
"A total ban would be disproportionate because, even on the Royal Mile, there are streets that can accommodate A-boards because they have pavement cafe licenses. If the council allows tables and chairs, it is contradictory to not allow A-boards."
A city council spokesman said: "Community councils, resident groups and heritage bodies are strongly in support of the removal of A-boards from the main streets in the city centre.
"However, any further development of this approach will depend on a wider consultation exercise looking at all our options, including an extension to individual streets or looking at specific areas."
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