Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Andover shops welcome A-board ban U-turn

Andover's independent retailers
Image caption Andover's independent retailers says A-boards are vital for shoppers to know of their existence

Shop owners in a Hampshire town where A-board advertisements had been banned from its streets have welcomed a scheme to licence them for a fee.

Retailers in Andover protested when the boards were removed following complaints of obstruction from members of the public.

The town's independent shops said they lost up to 25% in business as shoppers did not know of their existence.

Now a 12-month trial will see shops pay a £50 fee to reinstate their boards.

Larna Burley from Burley's Bridal said she was "over the moon" with this compromise scheme.

"It means retailers can stop worrying about the amount of business coming into their shops and concentrate on making this town a success for everybody," she said.

Retailers in the town had set up a campaign group against the sudden removal of what they regarded as crucial street advertising in February.

A petition called "stop victimising small businesses" had also been started in response to Hampshire County Council, as Andover's highways authority, serving legal notices to shops in Andover.

Councillor Sean Woodward, executive member for economy, transport and environment at Hampshire County Council, said: "I am grateful to the majority of the business owners who removed their A-boards following the complaints.

"The idea behind our new licensing scheme in Andover is that controlled regulation will better suit both the businesses and residents by being clear about sizes, dimensions and suitability of locations."

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