Town A-board dispute could result in fines for traders

TOWN centre traders are being told to tidy up advertising boards, tables and chairs outside their shops because they are posing a safety risk to shoppers

TOWN centre traders are being told to tidy up advertising boards, tables and chairs outside their shops because they are posing a safety risk to shoppers.Letters have been sent to Weston business owners asking them to present a 'more professional image' because obstructions such as advertising boards are creating a 'risk of accident'.North Somerset Conservative councillor Elfan Ap Rees, responsible for strategic planning, highways and economic development, said: "Unfortunately a handful of traders have taken to blocking the pavement with 'A' boards and even goods for sale, causing obstructions for wheelchair users, mothers with pushchairs and visually impaired people."We have no problem with 'A' boards, provided at least two metres of pavement remain unobstructed and the same applies to tables and chairs."We really want to encourage a lively street culture but a few are spoiling it for the many and, despite being asked nicely, are still ignoring the advice."North Somerset Council has warned traders, who are outraged at the announcement, at least two metres of pavement must be free of obstructions, including tables and chairs, or it is considered unsafe.The authority and the town centre partnership have said they will remove any obstacles that fail to meet these standards and traders could be fined. The council says a handful of traders are breaking the rules and spoiling it for everyone else. Business owners have also been told they are only allowed one advertising board directly in front of their shops.Traders in the Orchard Meadows shopping area say most pavements are not even two metres wide and are forced to put their boards up in the High Street and Big Lamp Corner. But they have been told to take these boards down because they do not comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.* Pictured above right: Debbie Gibson, Paul Batts and Martin Toseland.


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