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Consultation regarding the enforcement of unauthorised obstructions on the highway

A consultation from Northumberland County Council

For many years the use of sandwich boards and “A” boards has been a popular way of attracting
shoppers and pedestrians to business properties. This practice has continued over the years and
is still seen as a positive way of supporting the local economy. However, as our streets have
become busier we are seeing an increased number of complaints about this type of advertising as
well as other obstructions which make journeys along the footpath quite challenging at times.
The County Council (NCC) is committed to supporting and working with local businesses to grow the local
economy, and understands that businesses and venues wish to promote and advertise their
services and products to as many potential customers as possible.
However, the local authority also has a responsibility to ensure the public can use the streets and
footways within the area safely and without obstruction. This is particularly important in locations
that have a range of businesses and services that attract significant numbers of people.
In 2014 NCC was approached by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the Northumberland Low Vision Action Group (NAG) who both raised concerns about street clutter and the effect it is having on the ability of
visually impaired people to live independent lives.
It is accepted that the most appropriate use of limited resources is needed and therefore, it
is proposed that rather than authorising items such as “A” boards and goods displays that NCC will
prioritise enforcement of unauthorised obstructions on the highway.
In order to help local communities and businesses understand how enforcement will be carried out, NCC have produced the attached guidance.

Proposed Guidance

Before this guidance is approved for adoption NCC would like your input.
Please send your comments back to by e-mail to or addressed
to Ruth Bendell at the below address by 14th October 2016.

Ruth Bendell

Infrastructure Manager

Northumberland County Council

County Hall


NE61 2EF