Banner ruling rears its head

A PLAY producer who unwittingly reignited a long-running dispute over advertising banners in Sudbury has said she cannot see what the problem is, writes Elliot Pinkham.

Suzanne Hawkes hung a large banner on railings outside St Peter’s last week to promote tonight’s performance of Thomas Wolsey – The rise and fall at St Mary’s Church in Glemsford.

Unbeknown to her, she became the latest in a number of people to fall foul of Babergh District Council’s regulations on what can and cannot be hung from the railings when it was removed on Friday.

“It is bad as nobody has asked me,” said Mrs Hawkes. “I didn’t ask permission so it probably works both ways but it is my property and I spent £50 getting it printed.

“I looked on the website for St Peter’s and saw it is a church that is no longer used for services and there was no contact details to ask for permission.”

Lesley Ford-Platt, chairman of the Sudbury Market Town Partnership, hit out at the restrictions in June, while Sudbury Rowing Club and the town’s annual charity Christmas card shop battled with the ban last year.

“As long as the banner is tasteful, then I can’t see the problem with it,” said Mrs Hawkes. “I’ve been putting on productions for some considerable time now, all over the place and finding places to advertise is extremely difficult.

“A lot of shops won’t put posters up and if you don’t promote then people don’t come.”

She added that she had only intended to leave the banner up until tonight’s performance at 7.30pm, after which time it would be removed.

Sue Brotherwood, Sudbury Town Council clerk, said: “The district council has said that banners like that can’t be on there without advertising consent and we’ve abided by that.”

Deputy clerk Jacqui Howells explained that the banner was taken down by community wardens, following strict instructions from Babergh District Council that the largest signs that can be hung without advertising permission are A3.

“We have to be strict on these rules,” she said. “We have had problems with people putting posters up but not taking them down.

“We are quite happy if the event is in Sudbury, particularly at St Peter’s, the poster is A3 or smaller and is only put up a week before and is taken down afterwards.”

Mrs Howells added that Mrs Hawkes could collect her banner from the town council offices.