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latest update 12 March 2010

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Wirral traders’ fury at ‘pay to display’ charges

Wirral News - by Carrie Catterall

SHOPKEEPERS are set to start a petition against Wirral Council who are charging them to put up A boards and signs in the street.

The new conditions and charges apply to all businesses who use A boards, signs or external shop displays to advertise their business.

From now on shop and business owners wanting to display A boards must pay £50 for the first year and then £40 for every subsequent year.

For those wanting a shop display licence, which allows displays to take up a maximum of five square meters outside their business, shopkeepers must pay £75 for the first year and £60 for every subsequent year.

These charges have particularly angered business owners in Banks Road, West Kirby, who have advertised their businesses with shop displays and A boards for years without having to pay a charge.

A group of business owners in the area now say they will be forming a petition against the council.

Tony Dangerfield, owner of Waverly newsagents, West Kirby, has had to apply for a shop display licence.

He said: “I don’t look at this as a licence fee but as another form of tax on small businesses.

“We work to a budget so every additional cost thrown on us in these times has to be recovered from somewhere else and labour is our only flexible cost.”

Another Banks Road businessman said: “I think this is absolutely dreadful.

“We are in the middle of a credit crunch, so surely the council should be helping us out not putting more pressure on us.”

A spokeswoman for Wirral Council said: “For many years, businesses have been using the pavements as an extension of their premises by displaying notices, A boards, signs and external shop displays.

“There have been a number of occasions where this has caused significant problems for pedestrians, wheelchair and pushchair users and people with disabilities.

“Many local authorities have adopted a hard line approach by enforcing a complete ban on such items and will seek to have them removed.

“However, Wirral Council understands the importance of advertising for local businesses, particularly in the current economic climate, so has taken a more reasonable approach by assessing each case on its own merits.

“The council sets charges to offset the costs of administrating the application and permit system and resourcing highway enforcement, which ensures that people can use the pavements safely and without obstructions.”

© copyright Wirral News. Reproduced under fair use for the dual purposes of comment and news reporting


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