County draws up new policy for outdoor advertising

BUSINESSES and organisations who advertise outdoors are being urged to help the county council shape future policies.

The local authority has agreed new procedures when considering proposals for outdoor advertising and is writing to businesses to ask them for their views.

Last year the county commissioned a full review into he way in which it deals with the enforcement of outdoor advertising signs.

It put in place an amnesty for anyone with a sign that was unauthorised or that had not received suitable permission.

Consultation and engagement with representatives of those who could be affected by the changes is now under way, along with a request for businesses to help shape the guidance the council will provide.

Key interested parties including town and parish councils, chambers of trade and commerce, business associations and agencies such as Northumberland Tourism and the Northumberland National Park Authority are being encouraged to view a copy of the policy and practice document and to express their views.

Coun Tom Brechany, pictured, executive member responsible for development management at Northumberland County Council, said: “We want to introduce a new approach to considering proposals for outdoor adverts – including providing clear guidance on what type of adverts are acceptable and when formal consent will be required.

“We know that suitable promotion is critical to thriving local businesses and we hope that our new approach will make the process of agreeing the best form of outdoor advertising more straightforward.”

Outdoor advertising is controlled by the Town and Country Planning (control of advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007.

Some types of advert are exempt from planning controls and qualify for what is called ‘deemed consent’ – provided that they conform to specific conditions and limitations.

Examples include certain public notices, temporary signs such as ‘For Sale’ or ‘To Let’, posters for travelling fairs and certain adverts on structures like bus shelters.

Most adverts, including business related signs, do require formal ‘express’ consent.

The main issues that are taken into account when agreeing whether adverts should have consent are public safety – particularly in relation to roads and driving – and their effect on ‘amenity’ – or how the sign fits in with the character of its surrounding area.

The council intends to provide this guidance to include details around visitor attractions, particularly in relation to trunk roads and Class A roads; for community events; adverts in main towns in the county; sponsored advertising on roundabouts; and how it will enforce unauthorised adverts next to a highway and on private land.

For further information about the new policy and practice, and to express any views, visit