Campaign to replace Norwich welcome signs

Sponsor a sign and support your city – that's the call going out to companies and individuals alike in a campaign to spruce up Norwich's image.

Along key roads into the city, signs installed – some more than four decades ago – to welcome visitors and locals have slowly succumbed to the wear and tear of time, prompting complaints about their conditions.

All that is set to change, however, thanks to an Evening News-backed campaign to promote both the area and its businesses.

Over the coming months Norwich City Council will be introducing nine new signs on a number of major roads, and offering the chance to local companies to back the effort and get their brand seen by hundreds of thousands of motorists.

Brenda Arthur, leader of the council, said: 'We're very proud of the city and this is about civic pride and welcoming people coming into Norwich. I was pleased to hear the idea as the signs have been there for a long time and could do with being refreshed.

'There will be features of the city in the design and they will last for a long time, so we're giving organisations the chance to get involved.'

Sponsorship starts at �2,000 and means that those donating will have their company included in a bar strip beneath the main sign for three years. The places set to have signs are Newmarket Road, Sprowston Road, Drayton Road, Dereham Road, Thorpe Road, Aylsham Road, Ipswich Road, Earlham Road and Trowse.

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And with work taking place over what will go on the sign, which will likely be similar to the previous design, it is hoped that they will be up and installed by next spring at the latest.

Clr Arthur was keen to stress that all funds will be used to cover the creation and installation of the replacements.

'The money will be ploughed back into the project, and it will be good for us and a great opportunity for companies which are proud to be based in Norwich and want to have a real impact on the first impression that the place gives to visitors.

'I hope people will see that there's a mutual benefit here.

'We have had a couple of expressions of interest already and we're happy to talk to anyone who would like to do it.

'If we can work together with business and look at imaginative ways of supporting each other then that can only be a good thing.'

One of those interested in getting involved with the effort is Michael Redshaw, managing director of Norwich sign company Red Dragon Media.

Originally prompted by a letter from Mr Haste (see panel) to write in to Norwich City Council offering discounted signage, he supports the sponsorship campaign.

'I think it's a very good way for the council to raise money and subsidise the costs of something that's very necessary. People already sponsor roundabouts so why not signs?

'Business-wise, depending on the roads, it makes sense as it's very good value for money considering the cost of advertising elsewhere, and I think with something like this we all benefit.'

Those interested in sponsoring a sign can get in contact with Liz Agar or Joy Waters at Norwich City Council on 01603 212215.