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By Connie Osborne Friday 18 January 2013 Updated: 18/01 14:24
TRADERS have been threatened with huge fines if they do not remove advertising boards from outside their businesses.
Owners of shops on Unicorn Hill have branded the move by Redditch Borough Council as 'disgusting' after they received letters informing them if they did not remove A-Boards from the pavement they could face a £2,500 fine.
Alex Faulkner, who owns Harvey's Dry Cleaning, said he was outraged and was worried about the impact it would have on his business.
"It's utterly disgusting we get treated like this. They didn't bring the parking (on the taxi rank) through, we are in one of the worst recessions, our footfall is already low and now they tell us to remove our advertising boards. How do they expect us to keep going?
"The pavements are wide here so I cannot understand why it's dangerous to have the boards outside and it means now the advertisements have gone, the road will look completely bare.
"There are already two empty units on the street. I thought the council would be all for businesses doing well in the town but it feels like they are trying to put people off."
Emma Sutor, owner of Vintage Loves, added: "We struggle to get footfall as it is, but now I'm worried that apart from my regular customers, other people will think the shops are closed.
"I would expect the council to support us in helping trying to boost the economy in Redditch and this will do the complete opposite."
Coun Rebecca Blake, responsible for community safety on the council, said they had provided advice to businesses to help them advertise lawfully after receiving complaints.
"Under the Town and Country Planning Act (1990) advertising must have the appropriate consent from the landowner, our letter explains this in full and provides details of who the businesses would need to contact to discuss the necessary consent," she said.
"Meanwhile we hope our informative approach to the matter gives everyone ample opportunity and the information they need to ensure their actions are legal.
"Businesses are of course able to advertise on their own land, subject to local planning regulations."
She added the council had recently taken a much firmer stance on illegal advertising and was trying to encourage businesses to advertise within the law and ensure a clean public environment.
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