Durham landlords could face new regulation forcing them to apply for permission to erect ‘to let’ boards in the city, in order to protect the image of its ‘beautiful historic streets.’
Durham County Council has launched a consultation to look into introducing stricter rules regarding the number of advertising boards put up. The move comes following several breaches of a voluntary code introduced in 2009 to protect the character of the city from excessive advertising.
The council is considering an application to the Secretary of State for a stricter order regarding the signs. This would give the council the power to decide whether or not they should be allowed, and for what period of time. Thus removing landlords and agents current right to display the boards without consent.
The issue of excessive numbers of letting boards is said to be particularly prevalent on streets with a large number of student properties.
Cabinet member for economic development, Councillor Neil Foster, said: ‘While we understand and appreciate the need for landlords to market their properties, this has to be balanced against the impact that letting boards can have on our beautiful and historic city. We also believe that to let boards are a minor part of the modern marketing strategy and that most students will locate property via the internet. The voluntary code we introduced initially proved to be successful however, more recently, we are aware that some agents are breaching the rules and residents have asked for us to look at ways to give the council power to act in these situations.’
He continued: ‘As well as the evidence compiled as part of the voluntary code, any application to Government would have to be supported by local people and have the views of landlords and agents so it’s essential that everyone gets involved and has their say on what approach they’d like us to take.’