Monday, 24 December 2012

Action against the forest of estate agent boards in some parts of Reading #rdg

Some parts of Reading are unfortunately blighted by the forest of estate agent boards which go up every year and are up for a large part of the year. Here is an update on progress to tackle the problem by banning the boards – as has been done elsewhere.

"As a result of the Redlands & Uni NAG’s petition I was tasked with putting together a case to go to members to decide whether or not we apply to the Secretary of State for a Regulation 7 Direction to ban such boards. In order to make the case to members it was deemed necessary to provide one year’s worth of data to prove the extent of the problem so we have been carrying out monthly surveys since January this year to do just that. Our December survey will be completed this week and, depending upon the results, the case will be put to members in the New Year (though I anticipate that we will actually need to continue the surveys until April to fully prove the regular and cyclical nature of the problem).
If (and it’s still a big if) members decide to make the application to S of S, we will do so later next year. It will then (based on other Council’s experiences) take about a year for the Planning Inspectorate to carry out their investigation and report to the Secretary of State and a further six months for the S of S to make a decision. If (and that’s an even bigger if) the Regulation 7 is granted it will come into force sometime thereafter (I’m not sure what the notice period actually is – in the case of an article 4 direction its 12 months!). Realistically we are looking at the direction coming into force in late 2014 at the very earliest - if indeed it is granted.
Similar applications by other authorities have had various levels of success but the common factor when Directions have been granted seems to have been that the application relates to a Conservation Area. This does not bode well for us as the majority of the area to which we would wish the direction applied is not within a CA.
Anyway, the bottom line is that we are still working towards making the application but are still a long way from doing so.  If you need any more information give me a call and we’ll go through it in more detail."

Currently, legally a "to let" board can be left up for as long as it takes to let the property, but once it has been let, the board must be taken down within a few weeks. Please let me know about any long-term boards and I will happily pass this information on to planning.

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