Plans to tackle A-board menace

TRADERS who block Rye’s narrow streets with illegal A-boards and displays could face action.

Rye Town Council has raised concerns over pedestrian safety.

Councillors took to the streets themselves to carry out a survey and found that as well as A boards blocking pavements a number of shops were trading on the pavement with furniture, books, fruit and veg and shoes all on the footpath.

There was a clutter of A boards at the Strand, with two in the road covering double yellow lines.

A boards need to be licensed unless they are on private property.

Rye has come under fire from disabled groups in the past for its poor accessibility and obstructions.

Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore said: “In the main the boards were not causing a problem but one or two were causing glaring problems.

“Some were legal and licensed and some were not. Several shops were actually trading on the pavement and really spreading out.

“We do not want to stop anyone making a living and displaying their wares but we need to draw a line somewhere and say what is acceptable and what is not.”

Cllr Sam Souster said: “This has grown like topsy and the safety aspect should be considered.

“Many of the pavements in Rye are already too narrow and illegal trading is making the problem worse,

Rye Mayor John Breeds said: “It is a problem, I know of one lady who tripped over boxes outside a shop. It could have been serious.”

Councillors voted to send out letters to traders making them aware of the problem, in the first instance, but have the option of asking East Sussex County Council to take enforcement action if problems continue.

Ironically the council has itself come under fire in the past for A boards outside Rye Heritage Centre, which it owns.