Is A-board menace ruining town?

UNSIGHTLY A-boards are spoiling Rye for visitors and causing a dangerous obstruction for disabled people.

That was the claim being made this week by one visitor who says American friends he brought to the town were shocked by the advertisement clutter.

Geoffrey Parks, from Eastbourne, said: “My family and I are regular visitors to Rye. We recently visited with some American friends, who love the history and the way Rye is preserved, but our visit was marred by the proliferation of A boards.

“One business at The Strand had a total of five boards out. The Town Council had three boards out, incluing one right on the anchor, outside the Heritage Centre, which was getting in the way of visitors. There was a total of ten boards in this small area.

“Going on to visit the church, my sister nearly walked straight into yet another board placed precariously on the corner.

“We noticed another on the pedestrian island in Cinque Ports Street, which did not look like a safe place.

“Rye has limited space with narrow streets and as well as being unsightly, these boards are a trip hazard and hindrance to the disabled and parents with buggies.

“Many councils around the country have now banned these boards and I am surprised that Rye has not, given its historical merit and narrow streets.

“I would ask Rye Town Council to set a good example and start putting away all of its boards and asking other local businesses to do likewise.”

Rye has already come under fire earlier this year as being a disaster for disabled people to get around with complaints from a number of disabled people over the high pavements and nose to tail parked cars in the High Street.

Rye Town Clerk Richard Farhall responded: “As a general rule the Town Council does not get complaints about these unless one is clearly obstructing a pavement.

“Rother Council is responsible for granting advertising consent and East Sussex County Council is supposed to licence them if they are to be placed on a public highway. In practice, neither tends to happen. East Sussex Highways will get involved only if an obstruction is being caused.

“Of the existing A boards in the Town, some will be on private property, some will be on public property; some will have advertising consent, most won’t. some will be licensed, most won’t be. No authority appears to have the inclination - or resources - to ensure that all A boards (that need to) have the necessary consent and licence.

“In conclusion, the situation appears to be tolerated until there is a complaint that an A board is clearly obstructing the pavement - in which case ESCC will inspect the board and, if necessary, offer advice to the owner.”