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Lymington shop owner fumes after NFDC removes 'trip hazard' signs from Perfumery & Co, Specsavers and Suitably Shod in High Street

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A FURIOUS shop owner has hit out at New Forest District Council for removing advertising signs from outside stores in Lymington over health and safety laws.

David McConnachie, of Perfumery & Co, said he had used the A-board to attract customers and boost his business after struggling through three lockdowns.

But about three weeks ago an NFDC environmental health enforcement officer visited to tell him he had to get rid of it, he said – despite leaving lots of others in place.

Some shops in High Street are able to display advertising boards on their own property
Some shops in High Street are able to display advertising boards on their own property

An NFDC spokesperson told the A&T there were concerns about the items being a trip hazard, and any remaining signs would also have to go.

But Mr McConnachie said: “I was very annoyed because it seemed so petty. The board was really good at getting customers into the shop.

“If they saw that something was on offer, or that we stocked it, they would come in.

“We had such a difficult time during the lockdowns. We are lucky we did not have to close down. This board really helps the business.”

He said he did not receive any notification in writing from the NFDC that the board was to be taken, so he was shocked when a couple of weeks later it had disappeared.

He said two other businesses in High Street had also had their signs taken – although others had been left alone.

He said the council initially denied taking the A-board, before later admitting it after CCTV showed it being removed by an enforcement officer.

Mr McConnachie said: “It cost me £600, and I would very much like it back. The CCTV shows that the officer would have had to drive past several shops which had boards out, but he just picked on me and two others.”

Employees at Specsavers and Suitably Shod further up the high street confirmed they had also had their boards confiscated.

One said: “We didn’t even know who had taken it. It was there one minute and gone the next. We rang the police, who rang the council. They have told us it is a civil dispute with the council.”

The A&T counted at least 25 A-boards outside shops in High Street and on the cobbles. On the narrow street leading from the cobbles to the quay there are seven.

A spokesperson for NFDC admitted taking Mr McConnachie’s board, saying: “A-boards by their very nature obstruct pedestrians from being able to move in a straight line along the pavement.

“They present a trip hazard, especially to people who cannot see them and who use mobility aids.

“Our officers have been advising businesses that the boards will be removed. A personal call was made to each of the premises to ask them to remove their board.

“A-boards were then removed by our officers under section 130 of the Highways Act 1980 (Protection of public rights).”

The spokesperson said that some shops did not have A-boards out when their officer had visited but these businesses will also be asked to remove them.

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