Mill boss blasts council over ban on banner

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A mill boss has criticised local beurcracy which led to the removal of a banner advertising a sale.

Hawick Knitwear managing director Benny Hartop has spoken of his “disgust” after Scottish Borders Council twice took down a banner on railings at Tower Knowe, which advertised the event at the firm’s Liddesdale Road factory.

Mr Hartop, pictured, says the sale encourages visitors to spend money in Hawick and stated: “Not all our customers know where our factory is, so we bought a large banner advertising the sale with an arrow and hung it on the railing in front of the Tower Mill Cafe. To my absolute disgust it was removed by a council official who told us we are not allowed to display banners there because we are not a charity. If this is how the council treats a business, is it any wonder we are struggling to attract new investment.”

Mr Hartop has also thrown down the gauntlet to the town’s six councillors, stating: “You are elected to serve the people of Hawick. I’d like to hear why this shortsighted ruling is in place and what is being doing to do to get things changed.”

A spokesperson for SBC said: “Only a roads authority can place signage within the roads boundary, and signs must comply with The Traffic Signs and General Directions 2003. Any unauthorised sign at the roadside is both illegal and a potential distraction for motorists. This is particularly the case at a roundabout or junction where motorists should be looking for other road users and concentrating on official signage.”

Mr Hartop responded: “Why are charitable banners allowed up there – if there is an accident in the name of a charity is that okay?”