A local authority has written to all known estate and letting agents in its area criticising those who have allegedly broken the law on the display of boards - and promising there will be “no more gentle reminders” in future.
The letter, which has been seen by Estate Agent Today, is dated February 25, is from Cheltenham council and follows earlier correspondence from the council to agents in 2013.
The latest letter reads:
“Back in December 2013 a letter was sent to all known estate and letting agents and board contractors concerning the regulations which govern the display of advertisement boards within Cheltenham Borough. ... Since that time a number of new agents have emerged and it has been noted that the regulations are not being observed on the whole.
“Therefore the guidance previously given is being reiterated. A number of agents have been respectfully reminded of their obligations to comply with the regulations and have been requested to undertake an audit of their boards to ensure compliance.
“I urge you to carry out audits and remind all staff/contractors of the regulations.
“Moving forward, there will be no further gentle reminders [and] instead the Local Authority will exercise its powers as set out in the regulations and acts where sufficient evidence is obtained.”
Cheltenham is the area where - as we reported a year ago - an organisation called UK Board Watch is based. This is an organisation that has been active on and off since 2012.
In recent days it has become active again, tweeting photographs of boards it claims are illegally erected, with the Twitter hashtag #illegalboards.
The group itself uses the Twitter handle @3flyingducks and claims the boards it publicises are displayed in direct breach of planning laws, specifically set out under Class 3 of the Guide for Outside Advertisements.
The anonymous organisation - which appears to have spawned a sister group in Surrey, which also uses social media to highlight what it says are illegal boards - does not contact the estate agents directly: “We let the council do that” it has told Estate Agent Today.
UK Board Watch says it is a minority of agents who repeatedly offend, especially when it comes to erecting multiple signs for the one property.