THE long-running issue of A-boards in Kendal could be a step closer to being resolved after a new voluntary code of conduct was drawn up for dozens of businesses.
A set of standards for advertising boards has been worked up involving the Kendal branch of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce working with retailers.
The code will be self-regulated by businesses and run for 12 months as a trial and could then be rolled out across the district.
It aims to strike a balance between the needs of people with disabilities trying to negotiate the main street without colliding with hazards, and businesses marketing to customers in a fragmented marketplace during a retail slump.
The production of a draft code comes almost a year since an SLDC crackdown on A-boards resulted in fury.
The authority, which also has duties to conserve the ‘character’ of the Kendal Conservation area, sent letters to over 120 shops last January warning their A-boards were causing a hazard and they could face prosecution or fines unless they were removed.
Following meetings between all sides, the code has been developed and yesterday (Wednesday) was approved by South Lakeland District Council’s high-ranking Cabinet, having already been agreed by Kendal Town Council and Cumbria Highways.
It will come into being in February.
The new code of conduct involves retailers signing up to 15 general conditions.
* Boards being placed in the same location every day n Boards not exceeding A1 size
* Potentially clearer colours and branding for those with visibility impairment
* Rotating cylinder signs (assisted by the wind) not being acceptable
* Only one A-board allowed per business n Businesses on the highway must position their A-boards outside their premises and provide ‘free and safe access for pedestrians'.
Derek Armstrong, the Kendal-based representative for Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “It will be a self-governing policy so if I am sitting here and a shop opposite suddenly has three A-boards it will be for me to go and tell them that they are only allowed one and that they are in contravention of the policy and SLDC could take action.”
Michael Hartley, 76, from Kendal, who is registered blind, said: “This will be the third set of guidelines that the council has come up with. For blind people this situation is awful.
“There is a publication called Inclusive Mobility published by the Department of Transport and it lays out all sorts of things including the placement of A-Boards on footpaths.
“If everybody obeyed those guidelines, there would not be a problem.”