Ban over charity banners

A HOUSEHOLDER has today been told to stop putting up banners on his garden fence for charity events and shows - because they distract drivers.Les Docking has been putting notices and posters on his fence at the traffic lights junction of High Road West and Garrison Lane, Felixstowe, for the past 18 years.

A HOUSEHOLDER has today been told to stop putting up banners on his garden fence for charity events and shows - because they distract drivers.

Les Docking has been putting notices and posters on his fence at the traffic lights junction of High Road West and Garrison Lane, Felixstowe, for the past 18 years.

But after receiving a complaint, Suffolk Coastal decided to take action and put a stop to it.

Retired port worker Mr Docking said he and his wife Maureen were happy to put up the banners for non-profit making groups for free to give them a bit of publicity.

“We only do it for charities and the amateur theatre shows, Trimley Carnival and so on - it gives them a little bit of a boost,” said Mr Docking.

“It's a good position here and no-one has ever said it was wrong.

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“What we cannot understand is why we have been singled out and yet the business on the opposite corner of the junction is allowed to carry on putting up banners. It's discrimination.”

The council said he could put up notices no bigger than 0.6sq m not more than four weeks before an event and removed no later than 14 days afterwards, and should not obstruct the visibility of road users.

District councillor Mike Deacon said the situation was “absolutely ludicrous”.

“Mr Docking just wants to help out local groups and they are the ones who will lose out at the end of the day. It's awful,” he said.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal said the council received a complaint about the banners for two theatre productions, that they were a distraction for motorists, too large and had gone up four months before the event.

After visiting the site, officers wrote advising planning permission was required for such advertisements and asking for the banners to be removed.

“Co-incidentally, the government's Highways Agency wrote to us last week expressing their concern about roadside advertisements and how they 'create a distraction to drivers, and therefore can present a serious risk to road safety',” said the spokesman.

“In a district of our size, over 340 square miles, it is clearly impossible for us to be out there monitoring every roadside for possibly illegal signs, but if we do receive a complaint we are duty bound to investigate, and the same rules are used for every case.”

Do you think the banners should be allowed? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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