Town gets advert ban

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A BAN on advertising up-coming events in Sudbury on railings in the centre of the town has been described as “petty”.

Organisations have been told they will no longer be able to put advertising hoardings and banners outside St Peter’s on Market Hill.

Babergh District Council says it because of a significant increase in the unlawful advertisements around the town centre and industrial areas, and it has asked Sudbury Town Council to come up with an alternative advertising site.

Lesley Ford-Platt, chairman of the Sudbury Market Town Partnership said: “It seems petty to me. I cannot understand why Babergh chooses to enforce planning regulations so rigidly over banners advertising local events put up for the week before the event and taken down immediately afterwards.

“A comment that I heard once before when banners were banned was that people thought nothing was happening in the town because the railings were blank.

“This means that local organisations are hard hit in terms of getting people into their events because it is difficult now to advertise what’s going on.

“At a time when Mary Portas is telling us to promote our town centres, not just for shopping, but as places for people to visit and stay and as social centres, this is a very short-sighted approach from Babergh.

“Sudbury is seeing more shops close and premises stay empty, so we need to find other ways of encouraging visitors and local people to come into the town.

“Alas, without banners to tell them what is going on, this makes the task more difficult.”

Town clerk Sue Brotherwood said: “We will discuss this at our July policy meeting but, in truth, I am not sure we can come up with a solution because any banners or posters above A3 size are considered as fly posting and not acceptable to Babergh District Council.

“Obviously we can use the website and our notice boards and also have information available at the Tourist Information Centre, but we will have to try to come up with an idea which does not break Babergh’s rules.”

A Babergh District Council spokesperson said Sudbury had seen a significant increase in the unlawful display of advertisements, particularly around the town centre and industrial areas in recent years.

“Babergh, through its enforcement team, has looked to deal with these in a consistent and comprehensive manner by contacting those responsible directly.

“However, in approaching companies that had displayed signs unlawfully, officers found that the display of banners and posters on the railings at St Peter’s was constantly referred to as a source of concern, and that the council was accused of targeting organisations in the town and being inconsistent in their approach by failing to deal with Sudbury Town Council in the same manner.

“A request was therefore made to Sudbury Town Council to consider an alternative method of displaying these adverts and pro-active suggestions were made to assist the town council to find a solution.

“Any party wishing to display adverts on these railings is made aware of the relevant regulations and advised to contact Sudbury Town Council.”