A new pilot scheme aimed at regulating the use of advertising boards on public footways is set to be implemented in Hebden Bridge. The initiative comes in response to concerns regarding the potential hazards posed by free-standing advertising ‘A-boards’ on pavements, particularly for individuals using wheelchairs, pushchairs, or those with visual impairments.

Commencing on Thursday, June 15, businesses in Hebden Bridge seeking to utilise freestanding A-boards will be required to obtain a license from Calderdale confirming that their boards adhere to specific criteria. The conditions include limiting each business to one board and ensuring a clear gap of at least 1.8 meters on the footway to facilitate unobstructed passage for everyone.

Moreover, the following restrictions will apply to the A-boards:

  1. Dimensions must not exceed 60cm in width and 100cm in height.
  2. Boards should not hang from a frame.
  3. Swinging or spinning features are prohibited.
  4. Boards must not be propped up against a wall.
  5. Securing boards to any highway street furniture is not permitted.

Local businesses have been informed about the policy and its requirements through a written communication. The letter also outlines the enforcement procedures, with the Council committing to taking action in cases where A-boards are used without a license or fail to comply with the license terms.

The development of this policy began following its initial approval by the Council’s Cabinet in October 2021. Subsequently, extensive consultations were conducted, engaging disability groups and business associations, with the aim of formulating a scheme that strikes a balance between the needs of highway users and local traders.

The pilot scheme is slated to run until the end of May 2024, during which it will be continuously reviewed and adjusted if necessary. Following the conclusion of the pilot, a comprehensive evaluation will take place, with the potential for extending the scheme throughout the borough.

Expressing his thoughts on the matter, Calderdale Council’s Assistant Director of Strategic Infrastructure, Adrian Gill, remarked, “We acknowledge that A-boards can serve as valuable advertising options for businesses. However, when improperly placed on public highways, they can pose a potential danger to highway users, especially those who are visually impaired, disabled, or vulnerable.”

Gill further explained, “Following thorough consultations, we have developed a trial scheme that will initially be implemented in Hebden Bridge for a duration of 12 months. This requires businesses intending to use A-boards to obtain a license and ensure their boards meet specific requirements. We hope this scheme will effectively address the needs of both local residents and businesses while remaining open to continued evaluation throughout the pilot period.”