Council delays decision on banner and sign ban

Advertising at the side of the road in Hawick near The Heart of Hawick
Advertising at the side of the road in Hawick near The Heart of Hawick

Scottish Borders Council has delayed making a decision on proposals to ban advertising alongside the region’s roads and pavements.

Members of the authority’s executive committee met on Tuesday to discuss proposals which could see banners and signs banned in some locations in a bid to improve road safety and provide more consistency on the region’s pavements.

However, no final outcome was reached as councillors decided they needed greater clarity on some details of the proposals.

Faced with three options on how to deal with unauthorised signs, councillors ruled out a complete ban on all unauthorised signs and also the status quo of a free-for-all.

Instead, they preferred the option of a more lenient interpretation dealing with unauthorised signs depending on their location and type.

Again, however, they felt more research was needed by council officers before they agreed a way forward.

Addressing the committee, network place team leader Philippa Gilhooly explained that the council does not currently have a consistent approach to removing unauthorised signs and banners.

She said: “We do understand that businesses need to advertise, and what we are proposing is what we perceive to be a midway option.”

Certain areas are likely to be categorised as no-banner zones, such as roundabouts, key junctions, pedestrian guard rails and roads with a national speed limit.

Unauthorised signage for commercial events and organisations would be banned completely, unless an application for formal planning consent was made.

Councillors also stressed to officers the need to treat banners on main roads in a completely different manner to sandwich boards on pavements and asked for clearer guidelines on what is and isn’t acceptable in both instances.

Tweeddale West councillor Catriona Bhatia raised questions over consistency, saying: “There must be a measure of understanding over what is a community event and what is commercial advert.

“There are going to be some grey areas, and I am not sure who is going to make the decisions on these.”