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A boards

This policy establishes Cheshire West and Chester Council’s position on the placement of ‘A boards’ or other comparable objects on the public highway. 

An ‘A board’ is typically an ‘A’ shape frame advertising board generally made of timber with some form of hinge at the apex, although other styles exist, such as those consisting of a sign mounted on a heavy base.

The policy applies to advertising boards in the Chester city centre streets within and including the boundary of the A5268 (St Martin’s Way and Nicholas Street), Grosvenor Street, Pepper Street, Little St John Street, Vicars Lane, Union Street and St Oswald’s Way, and including Lower Bridge Street and Brook Street to its boundary with Francis Street, but excluding private land.

An ‘A board’ is used to promote a business and is, in effect, an extension to the business’ frontage, fascia or hanging sign.

‘A boards’ cause problems, however, as they can obstruct the footway or highway, with the result that pedestrians often do not have a clear, safe route of passage and have to navigate their way around the signage. This presents particular difficulties for visually impaired people, those with mobility issues, wheelchair users and parents and carers with prams or pushchairs.   ‘A boards’ on the highway can also impede the access of emergency or service vehicles.

Background 

‘A boards’ are a particular issue in Chester city centre as a result of the large number of boards on display in the city’s many narrow, often cobbled streets. In addition, the existence of retail outlets on two levels, on the Rows and at street level, means that there is a larger number of retailers with ‘A boards’ competing for street level space than is the case in many towns and cities. 

The design and style of ‘A boards’ can also have a significant impact on the environment and should not detract from the general appearance of the city centre conservation area or its individual historical and listed buildings. 

A full consultation exercise was carried out in April 2016. The results of this can be seen in the report below.

Next steps 

For an initial 12 month trial period from (January 2018) the Council will grant a licence on application for ‘A boards' for businesses on the Rows and or businesses that are located in a narrow lane, passage or alley way and do not have a frontage on a main thoroughfare or other means of advertising their location, provided that they comply with the licence conditions set out below.

There will be a charge for this licence and the licence will incorporate Planning Advertisement Consent and Highways consent.

No other ‘A boards' will be permitted anywhere on the highway, including within a licensed ‘al fresco’ area.

To run concurrently with the 12 months ‘A board’ trial, the Council will support the development of a wall/building mounted board, approved by the Council in partnership with the CH1 ChesterBID.  This will be subject to strict criteria and available in limited locations.  

Apply for a licence

For any enquiries, please email Regulatory Services.

Licence conditions

Positioning

C1: There must be a minimum unobstructed footway width of 1.8 metres when the ‘A board' is displayed

Explanatory note

Unobstructed footway width is measured either from the ‘A board' position to the edge footway or from the ‘A board’ position to the frontage of the building. There will be streets where the footway width is less than 1.8 metres. In such cases ‘A boards' cannot be displayed.

C2: In pedestrianised areas (including streets in which vehicular traffic is prohibited at certain times) there must be a minimum width of 3.7 metres available for pedestrians and for access by emergency vehicles

Explanatory note

The requirement here is for a greater unobstructed width than in a non-pedestrianised street, but this includes both the footway and carriageway as both may be used by pedestrians

C3: ‘A boards' must not be placed on the carriageway, except in pedestrianised streets where vehicular traffic is prohibited.

C4. On footways, ‘A’ boards must not be placed within 2.0 metres of any tactile paving or within 2.5 metres of any tactile paving in pedestrianised areas

Explanatory note

Tactile paving is a textured paving surface found on footpaths (and elsewhere, e.g. on stairs and train station platforms) to assist pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired by warning them of a hazard such as the end of a footway and the beginning of a carriageway)

C5: The ‘A’ board' must always be placed in the approved position and the position must be consistent on a day-to-day basis

C6: ‘A boards' will not be permitted near bus stops, pedestrian crossings, etc

C7: ‘A boards will not be permitted on any part of the Rows

C8: Only directional shared ‘A boards' will be permitted

C9: If a directional shared ‘A board' is to be positioned in front of any business premises, the consent of the business must be obtained

C10: All Boards must be portable and easy to remove i.e. they require no excavation to be installed or removed - they should not have a detrimental effect on the fabric of the highway (e.g. they must not be drilled into paving)

C11: ‘A boards' must not be fixed to lamp posts, bollards, seats, highway trees or other items of street furniture by means of chains, rope, etc.

Size and number

C12:‘A boards' should be no wider than 600mm and no higher than 1000mm above ground level

C13: Only shared directional ‘A boards' (for a minimum of two businesses per board) are permitted and the number of licensed ‘A boards will be restricted to two boards per 50 metres

Construction

C14: ‘A boards' must be of high quality construction and maintained in safe condition, for example, they must have no protruding elements that could cause passers-by to trip or fall, or that could cause other injury or damage, e.g. sharp edges, splinters

C15: ‘A  boards' should be stable and not represent a potential danger to any highway users - in particular, the structure must be of sufficient weight or design to prevent it being blown over in the wind; rotating or swinging signs will not be permitted; weighting by sandbags will not be permitted - as a precaution, ‘A boards' should not be displayed in particularly windy conditions

Other

C16: ‘A boards' must have express consent under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 (granted as part of the licence)

C17: ‘A boards' may only be displayed during the times stated in the licence and not during hours when the business is not open

C18: ‘A boards' must not contain any visual or written material that could be construed as being racist, sexist, homophobic or insulting

C20: The ‘A board' licence must be available for inspection at the relevant business during opening hours

C21: The licensee shall indemnify the Council against all actions, proceedings, costs, claims or demands whatsoever in respect of any injury or damage arising from the siting of the ‘A board'

C22: Holders of a licence must have and maintain a public liability insurance policy with cover up to £2,000,000

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