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Lymington Taxis and eDirections Event Signs add voices to NFDC Lymington High Street signage row

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TWO more independent businesses have added their voices to an ongoing row about New Forest District Council taking traders’ signage.

Both Lymington Taxis and Directions Event Signs Ltd claim to have been singled out by enforcement officers citing health and safety laws.

As reported in the A&T, Perfumery & Co in Lymington’s High Street was among a few businesses to have advertising boards taken down without warning.

Directions Event Signs Ltd director Paul Hunt
Directions Event Signs Ltd director Paul Hunt

Now Paul Hunt, director at Directions which provides traffic signage for events across the south of England, fears it could fold if NFDC’s actions continue.

Signs directing motorists to a wedding fair at Brockenhurst’s Balmer Lawn Hotel in May were among those removed and not returned despite repeated requests.

“I’ve approached the police,” said Mr Hunt, who has worked in signage for over 30 years.

“If someone removes your property and has no intention of returning it to you, that is theft. I haven’t actually reported it yet.”

He stressed the signs on roads from Lyndhurst to the village were approved by Hampshire County Council’s highways department, and more were allowed for Balmer Lawn’s next wedding fair on 17th July.

“We’ve all had a hard time over the last couple of years with the Covid lockdowns,” he continued.

“We’re back trying to make a living and this has put us on the back foot which is not good.

“If this continues we’ll just have to go into liquidation.”

Lib Dem district councillor Jack Davies, who represents Pennington, branded NFDC’s handling of the matter “ludicrous” after falling foul through his own work with Lymington Taxis in New Street.

Its A-board at the junction with High Street was taken despite also having HCC approval, days after a man in an unmarked hire van visited the office saying it should be removed.

“There’s obviously a disconnect between the two councils on policy. Surely the council that deals with the highways has a greater authority to deal with what goes on on the highways,” Cllr Davies said.

Cllr Jack Davies
Cllr Jack Davies

“This just goes to show how ludicrous the situation with our local government is here.”

These incidents come after NFDC removed posters advertising New Milton Rugby Club’s recent fundraising fun day, branding them flyposting.

The authority was also forced to apologise after an enforcement officer tore down posters promoting New Milton’s main Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations despite a special government dispensation.

NFDC confirmed that offending signs had been returned, accompanied by letters explaining owners had no consent to display advertisements on the public highway.

“These boards can only be displayed on the public highway if the council, in its role as planning authority, has granted consent, and the highway authority has given permission for the A-board to be sited on its land,” said a council spokesperson.

“The reason why these permissions need to be in place is primarily in the interest of public safety.

“NFDC is working with HCC to ensure that the public are clear on the consents that need to be in place.”

Regarding posters advertising events, the council said it will continue to ensure there was not a “proliferation of fly posting across the district” and is preparing advice with regards to this. “Event organisers are encouraged to consider how they can best advertise their events, and ensure that they do not inadvertently site posters in places that cause highway safety issues or have a negative impact on the overall appearance of an area due to the number of posters displayed,” said the spokesperson.

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