Hitchin A-board code aiming to cut the clutter and address tricky issue

Hitchin, Market Place

Hitchin, Market Place - Credit: Archant

A blitz on A-boards advertising clogging up the pavements of Hitchin town centre is under way.

A blitz on A-boards advertising clogging up the pavements of Hitchin town centre is under way.

In a letter sent to businesses in the town and seen by the Comet, Herts County Council wants users to register with them if they intend to use the boards.

Assistant network manager Richard Stacey said: “There is a growing trend to use ‘A-board’ advertising on the public highway, which includes the pavement. “We appreciate there is a legitimate desire to advertise to promote economic and business needs but this has to be balanced with the needs of pedestrians and other highway users, including those with disabilities, for safe and free passage.

“We have introduced a simple online registration system which enables us to operate the A-board code without cost.

“We will pilot this code until the end of June and Hitchin town management and Hitchin BID rangers have agreed to assist to ensure the process is sensitive to local circumstances.”

Hitchin town centre manager Keith Hoskins said: “These boards are eyesores and obstructions, certainly if you’re a parent pushing a double buggy and are forced out onto the road to navigate around them.

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“Many miss the point of advertising because there are so many of them and they lose their impact – people walk past without even registering what’s being advertised.”

Councillor Derrick Ashley, who represents the town at County Hall, said: “The issue of boards comes up regularly in surgeries. They can present issues for people with mobility difficulties.”

Councillor Judi Billing, who also serves on the county council, added: “I completely understand independent businesses wanting to attract custom but they do block access for people. When you get clusters of them they negate their aim as many people don’t recall the message they’re trying to convey.”

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