Application for permission to place an object on the Highway - 'A' Board
The Chair explained the process to the applicant.
The Senior Licensing Officer then presented his report. He verified that the detail in the report issued prior to the meeting stated that the dimensions of the A board were 94 cm not 940 cm as was in the report. He also clarified the proposed position of the board by use of a map. He clarified that as the board in question was a swing board and not an A board that the board was in breach of policy.
The decision to be made by the Committee was as follows:
Approve the application because Members are satisfied that the location is suitable or
Refuse the application because it does not comply with the provision of the Street Scene policy.
This application was referred to Members as it does not comply with policy as it is a swing board and it was in a conservation area, this is a side alley not a public right of way.
It was also stated that on a policy note the proposed position was not on a highway so therefore if it was approved no licence fee would apply.
The Members then raised the following points to the Senior Licensing Officer:
- Further clarification was requested as to where the board would be on the map.
- Is there a good reason why a swing board rather than an A board would not be approved
- It was discussed that the shop does have frontage and the area for the board was on the private alleyway between Montpellier Street and Montpellier Walk.
The Senior Licensing Officer then confirmed that the applicant does fall foul of the policy as it is a conservation area. He also referred members to point 3.3 of the policy (which has been adopted by Council) which states that a board must not have moving parts.
The Applicant then clarified that she had no further questions for the Officer and also gave some background as to the application. She stated that the shop opened in June and that she (as manager) was given the board by Head Office to put outside the premises. She stated that until recently she was not aware of the difference between an A board and a swing board. She said that the idea of the board is that when people go through the walkway the front door is not visible, however the frontage and the side of the shop on Montpellier Street are very visible.
Members then asked the following questions:
- Why do you require a board when the shop front is at street level? Didn’t feel it was valid to say people wouldn’t know the shop was there
- Are you a destination shop ie do customers just wander in off the street to look at a kitchen?
The applicant replied that the board was provided by Head Office as all the other stores in the chain have them and that she believed that about a third of their trade on a Saturday was people who were just passing.
The matter then went to Member debate and the following points were raised:
- Do we like the design of the swing board and is it in keeping with the area?
- Is it an appropriate place for it to be as there are other A boards in that part of town?
- Someone had walked to the shop and had no difficulty in seeing the shop front from the street.
- It was also mentioned that Cheltenham now has lots of A boards that don’t comply with the policy and that there is blatant advertising going on and suggested that this might not be what the Council want.
- Shame that the board doesn’t comply but it is your business to make sure that the shop front is visible.
- It was suggested that other A boards in Montpellier have been approved so maybe the applicant could re apply with an A board rather than a swing board.
- A problem was raised in that maybe there was not enough enforcement being carried out around A boards however it was pointed out that the Enforcement Officer has been successfully engaged in prosecution of taxi drivers.
- The proposed placement of the board was discussed and was agreed that the right board would not impede the impaired.
- There was a blitz on A boards approximately 10 years ago and is it time for another one – although Members are aware that there may not be sufficient Enforcement Officers to cover this.
The Senior Licensing Officer then stated that the Licensing Team leader has agreed that post Cheltenham Festival there will be a review on the policy regarding A boards.
The applicant confirmed that nothing had been missed but made the following points:
- Questioned whether it was worth applying for an A board or would that be refused too.
- Pointed out that the board is aimed at people walking through the walkway as customers have difficulty finding the store and have to park and walk.
The Chair then went to the vote on issue 1.7.1 – Approve the application because the Members are satisfied that the location is suitable.
In Favour 0
Against 8 (unanimous)
The chair then referred the applicant to the online policy regarding compliancy. He also confirmed that Licensing will send a copy of the policy and the decision to her. He also suggested that they might like to address the matter with BID to see if they can assist.