Welwyn Hatfield Council cracks down on illegal advertising

A CRACKDOWN on unauthorised advertising in Welwyn Hatfield has been backed by councillors fed-up with the continuing problem in the borough.

Out-of-date estate agent boards, A-frame signs and fly-posters will be removed by Welwyn Hatfield Council through powers given to local authorities in a section of the Town and Country Planning Act.

Rather than go through a lengthy and expensive prosecution process to have the signs removed, the Act states that council’s can destroy unauthorised placards and posters, and even recover reasonable costs from the perpetrators.

This power has not been used by the council in recent years, but is now being stepped up in a bid to stop advertisers leaving signs and posters up long after the event being advertised has happened, or on land not belonging to them.

The plans where approved by members of Welwyn Hatfield Council’s planning control committee on Thursday.

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“My first reaction was ‘whoopee!’” said Lib Dem group leader Tony Skottowe after the meeting. “You only have to walk around here to see how bad the problem is.

“It’s a mix of opportunism, to give themselves cheap advertising, which is particularly offensive and casual sloppiness.”

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A council spokeswoman said: “By increasing the use of powers to remove illegally displayed signage and advertisements that can litter our borough, the council hopes to make a significant impact and improvement to the area.”

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