Councillors in Reading have called for action to be taken to reduce the ‘forest’ of estate agent signs that are plaguing parts of the town.
Councillors argue that the high volume of signs, particularly in areas with high amounts of resident turnover, such as the Redlands area of East Reading, which are popular with students, are a ‘nuisance’.
The issue is particularly stark in Erleigh Road, Addington Road, Blenheim Road and Cardigan Road, and as a result agents are being called upon to actively reduce their signage in these areas.
Cllr Will Cross (Labour, Redlands), who called the signage “a nuisance”, conducted an audit, identifying 70 signs, and listed the agents involved and the addresses where they were located.
He was praised by Cllr Micky Leng (Labour, Whitley), lead councillor for planning, at a full meeting of Reading Borough Council, for his “Columbo style detective work”.
Clllr Leng said a voluntary agreement between the council and estate agents may be necessary. A similar understanding was struck back in 2014.
Cllr Leng said that, following Cllr Cross’ investigation, officers will send letters reminding estate agencies of their duties in the original agreement made nine years ago.
The area covered in the agreement runs from Alexandra Road to Lennox Road in Park ward.
If the council is unsatisfied that estate agents are not complying with the agreement, it can apply for the Regulation 7 Direction from the government.
The rules and regulations for displaying estate agents’ boards in Reading are set out below:
Rules and regulations for displaying estate agents’ boards
The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 2007 governs the display of advertising. The display of estate agent boards is controlled by Class 3 of Schedule 3 of the regulations, which relates to “An advertisement relating to the sale or letting, for residential, agricultural, industrial or commercial use or development for such use, of the land or premises on which it is displayed”. The display of Estate Agents Boards has express consent and, generally, does not need permission.
The salient points of the legislation relating to For Sale/Sold and To Let/Let By and other boards advertising the availability of properties for sale or to let are;
Boards may be displayed only on, or within the curtilage of, the property to which they relate. Boards displayed elsewhere (e.g. on the Highway or attached to street furniture) are unauthorised.
Only one board is permitted per property and the first to be displayed is taken to be the one permitted (i.e. all other boards are unauthorised). However, in cases where a property comprises flats, Reading Borough Council will allow one board per flat to be displayed provided that each board clearly identifies the relevant flat.
Boards indicating that a property has been sold or let must be removed within 14 days of the date of completion of the sale or the signing of a tenancy agreement.
No advertisement may exceed 0.5sq.m. (residential) or 2sq.m. (commercial).
Maximum projection from a building is 1m.
Maximum height of the highest part of the advertisement is 4.6m above ground level or 3.6m in a Conservation Area.
No advertisement may be illuminated.
Boards which do not comply with the above, including other types of board (e.g. ‘Managed By’ boards) and boards displayed on properties that are not currently available for sale or to let, are unauthorised and their display constitutes an immediate criminal offence.
In addition to the above, in order to limit the harm caused to amenity by the high number of ‘ To Let’ and ‘ Let By’ boards that have been displayed in various parts of the Borough, Reading Borough Council has sought a voluntary agreement with the majority of local estate agents that boards in connection with the letting of residential properties will not be displayed in those parts of the Borough. The display of For Sale and Sold boards is not affected.
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