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Agents Boards: Labour council wins government help for stiff controls

A London Labour council has won draconian powers to effectively ban For Sale and To Let boards in several parts of its borough.

Camden council already prohibited the display of the boards in six conservation areas; now, under new powers granted to the council last month by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, it can - in its words - “significantly extend the controls to cover all conservation areas and our town centres.”

That means agent boards cannot be displayed in conservation areas and all town centres unless advertisement consent is obtained.


“We are delighted that we have been successful in gaining additional powers to restrict estate agent boards which are often eyesores, adding unnecessary clutter to our streets” says councillor Danny Beales, whose title at the council is ‘Cabinet Member for Investing in Communities and an Inclusive Economy.'

“Across the borough there are examples of estate agents disregarding the regulations, displaying numerous boards per building and keeping them up for months, if not years, despite properties being sold or let” he says.

“The proposals were supported by the vast majority who responded to our consultation. The removal of these boards has previously taken up valuable council resources and I look forward to these additional controls having a positive impact on streets across the borough.”

The regulation 7 direction of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisement) Regulations 2007, which has now been granted to the council by the MHCLG, removes the rights granted by general advertisement regulations for the display of estate agents boards without the need for advertisement consent.

The effectiveness and appearance of For Sale and To Let boards has been a hot topic within the industry for some years, although few councils have actually sought the enhanced powers to make the boards subject to planning consent.

At the end of last year Christopher May, director of free-to-list portal Residential People, urged agents to forget about spending money on boards and instead put the cash into digital strategies.

"For Sale and To Let boards may be good for brand awareness, but unlike online marketing, boards less likely to generate leads beyond the local area” explains May.

Disputes between agents, involving stealing boards, has become a rarity although in the past it was commonplace. 

Last year Manor Estate Agents, based just outside Glasgow, contacted police after 26 of its boards has disappeared in some eight months.

Poll: For Sale Boards - do they have a future?


  • Suzy OShea

    Whilst board can be helpful to passing members of the public who may become interested, they ought to be limited to one board per property!

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    For £30 a for sale board or to let board is money in the bank, and when I started in agency in the mid 1980's they were and for some still are the barometer of success, brand and a very visual way of telling all this property is for sale or let, is sold or let.

    But 35-years on, maybe all that wood and plastic, is not the way, a simple app on your phone could do the same job, with Beacon technology, as you drive walk in an area, if a property is to let or for sale, pops up on your mobile. With all the things a static board can not tell you, the rent, etc, is there a garage, what are the local schools amenities etc.

    Also go one further, the general public who are 'thinking about letting or selling' could they tap into the local market to see what price they might want to try to get attention, again a mobile app could do this. So no more boards, but as ever all the intel pinging into that shiny little oblong that is welded into everyone's hand from cradle to grave.

    Maybe 5G will help innovations like this along, the local idea is good too as 72% of people tend to live and die with a 17km radius of where they 'live' from the point they leave home and move and start having children, so concept of scooping a local buyer is a big concept and ties in with agents using social media to grow their local digital footprint.

    If you need a proptech strategy - contact us Proptech-PR. andrew@proptech-pr.com straight talking into the future, and no dinosaurs guaranteed.

  • icon

    No thanks the very last thing I want on my phone as I walk to the pub is a load of stuff popping up.
    Many people particularly more mature people are not obsessed with their phones they have a life.

    in fact I am most of my buddies do not even take a phone out when we are going for a meal/drink/sports event. Believe it or not I know 3 friends who are aged less than 50 who have never owned a mobile phone and have no need for one. I currently have 5 clients who do not have a mobile phone.
    To me boards are highly visable and not an irritant they offer subliminal advertising day after day after day.


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