TOWN centre businesses in Kendal will have to watch where they put their advertising boards in future.

A voluntary ‘code of conduct’, which has been on trial for a year, has now been formally adopted by South Lakeland District Council.

Those who refuse to abide by it could face enforcement action from the council, including a fine of up to £2,500.

But a council spokesman said that would only be in ‘rare circumstances’ after letters and talks with the business owner first.

The new code aims to stop ‘A- boards’ causing obstructions for people and cluttering up streets, said SLDC.

It follows talks with businesses, Sight Advice in Kendal and the Chamber of Commerce.

Three years ago, SLDC launched a blitz by threatening fines after it found 100 ‘unauthorised’ A-boards across Kendal.

Angry traders branded it a ‘witch-hunt’ and said it was the only opportunity to advertise if they were down one of Kendal’s ginnels or yards.

The new code covers Kirkland from the Parish Hall to Highgate, All Hallows to the bottom of Beast Banks, Strick-landgate, Wildman Street, Finkle Street, Kent Street, New Road, Lowther Street, and Sandes Avenue, among others.

Coun Jonathan Brook, said: “A-boards have been a controversial subject and this report seeks adoption of an A- board code of conduct for Kendal.

“It will balance the need for retaining the character of Kendal and the economic benefit derived from the use of A-boards.”

A report said the majority of businesses had accepted the code. During a trial, six boards were moved after being identified as hazards for people with impaired vision.

People with complaints about A-boards can contact either SLDC or Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, and if a business is found not to be adhering to the code, a letter will be sent to requiring them to remove the sign within two days.

SLDC says if the board is not relocated or removed, then it may take enforcement action.

The code also includes detail about the positioning and appearance of A-boards.

Coun Brook, portfolio holder for strategic growth, said the code of conduct could be rolled out to other towns in South Lakeland if necessary.

Derek Armstrong, of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “We must ensure that the town centre and the secondary trading areas around town are kept clean and tidy, offering an uncluttered environment where residents and visitors alike can enjoy a good shopping experience.”