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Councillors clash over A-boards proposal
PROPOSALS to slap traders with a £100 charge for having A-boards near their premises have been labelled “ridiculous” and a “non-starter” by a leading Worcester politician.
Councillor Richard Boorn, the city council’s cabinet member for finance, says the idea is “not a practical solution” to solving the problem of Worcester’s splurge of boards.
But his criticism has already been rejected by the fellow Labour councillor who came up with it, who insists a charge is “inevitable” if they are to ever have a crackdown on it.
As your Worcester News revealed on Monday, an in-house review of the city centre is taking place which includes ideas to reduce their numbers.
Councillor Simon Cronin, who is leading the project, has discussed levying charges on shopkeepers to fund better enforcement of them.
Coun Boorn said: “It’s ridiculous - if you look at how many A-boards there are in the city it’s not a practical solution.
“First of all, shops have a legal obligation to consider the disabled, as does the council, and there’s no doubt these boards also pose a problem for partially sighted people.
“All it needs is some common sense, over the last few years just about every councillor has been pictured in the paper saying ‘I’ll sort it out’, it’s pathetic it’s been going on for this long.
“We should make a corridor both sides of the High Street, where these A-boards can go, so the shops and pedestrians know exactly where they will be.
“Charging is a non-starter. If we had that corridor created, it would solve the issue.”
He also said the current free-for-all has created an “A-boards paradise”.
The criticism has been refuted by Coun Cronin, who says the council cannot afford to tackle it for nothing.
“I did an audit myself around two to three weeks ago and I counted 200 of them before I could even finish,” he said.
“It’s inevitable we’ll have to look at some form of charging as an option, although £100 was just a suggestion I put out there.
“We’ve got to be realistic that if it requires the attention of our staff, and could mean enforcement, there’s a cost to that, and we’ve got to get that cost back.
“It’s about creating an environment for businesses to flourish without intruding on the amenities of the city centre.”
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