Reading council plans to curb estate agent signs

A Berkshire council's plans could force estate and letting agents to apply for consent before putting up signs.

Reading borough said it was reacting to a petition from residents living in the university area about the amount of boards "littering" their streets.

The petition called for a complete ban on 'to let' and 'for sale' signs in east Reading, near the university.

Reading letting agent Adeel Rafique said the boards were "crucial advertising" for the student market.

The Redlands Neighbourhood Action Group handed in the petition in October and said that bans on property signs were in place in parts of London.

The petition also protested against boards being on display beyond the legal time limit.

'Walk around'

A council spokesman said as a result of the petition, it was seeking direction from the government about the idea of imposing a consent rule before boards could be put up outside properties.

He added the council was sending out "stern warning" letters to estate and letting agents about the "continuing proliferation" of boards in the university area.

However Mr Rafique, from Parkway Properties, said the planned rule would be bad for business.

"One in three properties here are student lets," he said.

"Students tend to walk around to look for properties, so the boards are crucial advertising for us.

"It would be extreme to have to get consent."

He added the council would "not be able to cope" with the thousands of applications in December, which he said was the time students started looking for accommodation for the following academic year.

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