May 21 2013 Latest news:
By tom bristow
Friday, March 8, 2013
A council may have to dig up its own advertising signs after failing to get permission to install them after they had been erected.
Norfolk County Council has installed signs on around 60 roundabouts in the county on which businesses then buy advertising.The council’s plan was to raise up to £160,000 a year by selling the advertising through a Suffolk company called Marketing Force.
But after building them, the county council was told by district councils that they needed advertising permission.
In south Norfolk, where 22 signs have been built, half of them were refused permission by the district council on February 27.
Tim East, South Norfolk councillor for Costessey who sits on the planning committee, accused the council of a “complete reversal of policy”.
“The hypocrisy of Norfolk County Council knows no bounds,” he said. “Previously they had a policy moratorium on advertising on highway verges and roundabouts. With a complete volte-face, business advertising signs on roundabouts are seemingly legitimate.”
In west Norfolk, Dersingham Parish Council has objected to signs on George Pratt Roundabout at the junction of the main A149 coast road and the B1440, claiming the signs were “distracting”.
In Hellesdon signs have already been removed by the county council at the Bull roundabout after the parish council objected to them last year.
The county council hoped the money generated from advertising would cover the roundabouts’ £20,000-a-year maintenance costs and raise up to £160,000 a year which would be put into the highways maintenance budget.
Although the signs are larger than ones previously allowed on roundabouts, the county council said there were no safety issues.
Councillor Beverley Spratt, who led the move to introduce advertising on roundabouts, said it was “sad” and “disappointing” that some councils were not approving the applications. “When we rolled it out the uptake from businesses was unbelievable. Now we’ll have to review it.”
He added: “I was told that the roundabouts belonged to Norfolk County Council, but then the district councils decided we would have to get permission.
“It was going to bring in new money for maintenance and it is sad because it was a win-win for everybody.”