Council makes U-turn over A-board threats

Digby & Gunn owner Letitia Valentine with her A-board in Stamford High Street.'Photo: MSMP250214-004ow
Digby & Gunn owner Letitia Valentine with her A-board in Stamford High Street.'Photo: MSMP250214-004ow
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Councillors have admitted they made a mistake by threatening traders with legal action if they did not remove advertising boards.

Members of Stamford Town Council made a U-turn on the issue of A-boards at a meeting on Tuesday.

They agreed to form a working party with town centre retailers to find a solution to the problem.

During a heated and lengthy discussion on Tuesday, Coun Bob Sandall (Independent) called for public consultation. He said: “If the council has made a mistake because it didn’t consult, it should stand up and say that it did.

“If we don’t do it now we never will.”

A number of traders spoke at Tuesday’s meeting in response to a letter sent out by the council on February 4. The letter said anyone putting an A-board in the public highway was doing so illegally.

It gave traders 21 days to remove the boards. If they refused, the boards would be removed and the cost would be levied on them.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Coun Clem Walden (Independent) said traders were breaking the law by placing A-boards in the street.

But Letitia Valentine, who runs men’s gift shop Digby & Gunn, in Cheyne Lane, said: “Not being on the High Street has a direct impact on business. People see my A-board and come into my shop.

“Twenty per cent of my business comes in because of my A-board.”

One of the council’s complaints was the potential hazard caused to disabled and partially-sighted people.

But Letitia said: “I keep mine close to the side of the High Street. I have a partially-sighted customer who said she doesn’t see the problem.”

And Tony Sharpe, of Pets Korner in Stamford Walk, pointed out that the issue was raised about seven years ago and nothing had changed.

Couns Christine Brough (Lib Dem), Mike Exton (Con), Maureen Riley (Lib Dem) and Gwyneth Gibbs (Con) will now work with four yet-to-be-named town centre traders to form an A-board policy.

Stamford Town Team chairman Tim Lee, who is also president of Stamford Chamber of Trade and Commerce, welcomed the council’s decision. He said: “We are back from the brink. We have to recognise that some display is required but we don’t want the place littered with unnecessary advertising.”