A London council wants government backing for a borough-wide Section 7 direction - effectively banning all agents’ boards being erected without first securing planning consent.
Labour-controlled Camden council claims it has received over 1,000 complaints about For Sale and To Let boards over the past five years.
Now it has written to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government asking for permission to ban the boards unless planning permission is sought and granted.
The council’s planning committee chair, Danny Beales, says: “It's clear that from our consultation that an overwhelming majority of residents support the change. The boards are cluttering our streets, often left for months on end, effectively free advertising.”
Camden contains well-heeled locations such as Hampstead, Regents Park and Primrose Hill, and the letter from the council makes much of how beautiful it believes the area to be.
One sentence reads: “Because of the richness and distinctiveness of the built and natural environment in Camden, estate agents boards which clutter street frontages and introduce incongruous colours and materials have a particularly harmful impact on the character and appearance of large areas of the borough.”
Another sentence claims: “The proliferation of estate agents boards causes harm to the character and appearance of many areas of the borough, failing to preserve or enhance the historic environment and introducing unsightly signage made of low quality materials and with poor details into the built environment.”
A consultation earlier this year saw 89 per cent of respondents back plans for a borough-wide ban.
Camden already has been given Regulation 7 Direction powers for some locations, mostly conservation areas, where explicit planning consent is required for the erection of boards.
Earlier this year the council issued a statement saying: “Estate agent boards continue to be one of the most common complaints made to Camden’s Planning Enforcement Team. Across the borough there are examples of estate agents disregarding the regulations, displaying numerous boards per building and keeping them up for long periods despite properties being sold or let.
“Estate Agent boards are seen by many as outdated eyesores, which merely add unnecessary clutter to our streets and take up valuable council resources as we seek to secure their removal.”