Council votes to allow advertising on its land, buildings and other assets

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By ptics | Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 10:10

By Labour South Gloucestershire...

The prospect of many more advertising boards in our towns and villages is set to become reality after a local council voted to allow advertising on its land, buildings and other assets like bus shelters and street lights.

Councillors from South Gloucestershire Council's Policy & Resources committee have voted to allow advertising on its land, buildings and other assets to bring in around £200,000 per year in income. The council has identified 75 roundabouts, 520 street lights, 18 boundary signs, 40 sites for large format posters and various pieces of 'street furniture' such as litter bins that are all suitable for taking advertising materials.

Over the 3-year period ending in 2014/5, the Council is having to find £43million of savings as its grant from the Tory-led coalition government is cut by 28%. In addition to cutting services, the Council has also set-up a project called "Income Maximisation" that has a target of bringing in £750,000 per year. Part of this project proposed the use of council property for advertising which councillors have agreed should now go ahead.

Councillor Andy Perkins (Labour, Woodstock), Leader of the minority Labour group of councillors said he was reluctant to go along with the proposals but under the current financial climate felt there was little choice. He commented:

"The Coalition government is slashing the amount of money it gives to local councils. One of the positive aspects of life in the UK is the tight control on the public display of advertising materials.  But such is the extent to which our budgets are being cut by the Coalition government we are having to agree to things that we would not normally want to do."

South Gloucestershire Council already brings in around £11,000 a year from small-scale 'sponsorship' of some roundabouts but this new policy will see adverts spring-up over a much wider area.

Cllr Perkins added;

"Whilst planning permissions would ultimately be needed, the possibility of being confronted by a great deal more advertising as you walk, cycle and drive around South Gloucestershire is an obvious concern."

Councillors have insisted that there will be no advertising on council property from political parties, the adult entertainment business and high-interest money lenders. All adverts will have to comply with the Advertising Standards Authority code of practice prohibiting adverts that mislead, harm or cause offence and the Council's new policy will be under regular review.



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