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New To Let sign regulations will reduce street clutter

Lancaster City Council has received Government backing to restrict ‘To Let’ signs in parts of the city from September 1.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has approved the introduction of a Regulation 7 direction, meaning that the display of the boards will no longer be permitted.

It’s in response to the growing number and concentration of the signs in parts of Lancaster, creating unnecessary clutter and spoiling the character of the city’s terraced and historic streets.

The controls will cover the city council wards of Bulk, Castle, John O’Gaunt, Marsh, Scotforth East and Scotforth West.

Councillor Gina Dowding, cabinet member with responsibility for strategic planning and place making, said: “We’re very pleased to have been granted these additional powers and be able to restrict To Let signs in certain parts of Lancaster.

“In an increasingly online world, the value of having physical boards is reducing in any event, so their removal shouldn’t impact on the ability of landlords being able to let their properties.

“The new regulations will reduce unnecessary clutter on our streets and improve the visual amenity of the areas that they cover.

“The city council has written to estate and letting agents to make them aware of the new regulations so they have plenty of time to get their procedures in order, so hopefully there will be no need for the council to take enforcement action.

“Once the new controls are officially in place we’ll be undertaking a survey to see how many remain and taking action where appropriate.”

To Let signs usually benefit from deemed advertisement consent and do not require permission from the council to be displayed on a property. The introduction of the Regulation 7 Direction removes this consent for residential properties.

Where a sign is displayed without consent, the council can prosecute in the Magistrates Court. The fine on conviction can be up to £2,500 with an additional daily fine for a continuing offence.

More information, including a copy of the Secretary of State’s decision, report, the Regulation 7 direction and map can be found at www.lancaster.gov.uk/regulation7.

Anyone with questions about the introduction of the new controls should email planningpolicy@lancaster.gov.uk or telephone 01524 582383 for advice and support.

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