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Request for control of Advertising Boards

Sample request, written by Annie Rimington, Chair of the RHS, to:

Brighton & Hove Heritage Team
Brighton & Hove Council
email: conservation@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Dear Sir/Madam

Request for Control of Estate Agents' Advertising Boards in the Round Hill Conservation Area

On behalf of the Round Hill Society and local residents, I write to request that existing regulation of estate agents’ advertising boards in conservation areas in central Brighton & Hove is extended to include the Round Hill Conservation Area.

It has already been recognised by the City Council and government, that such boards do cause significant problems in areas of good historic architecture. Many central conservation areas are already spared having their heritage features obscured by Estate/Letting Agents' boards through an agreement between Brighton and Hove City Council estate and letting agencies that they should avoid this method of advertising property.

Estate and Letting Agencies do play a valuable role in helping people to buy, sell and rent accommodation. However, in an age where so many people can access the Internet, even on mobile phones, people looking for accommodation do not comb the streets in search of advertisement boards. Agencies are forced to go to the expense of erecting boards when and where their competitors are permitted to use this method of gaining advantage.

Brighton and Hove City Council would not allow any other service to be advertised in this uncontrolled manner way in their conservation areas. Round Hill's Article 4 Direction also prescribes very closely the architectural features (front door & window types, rooflights etc) which are acceptable on our street facades. It is therefore understandable why residents who take pride in their environment ask why is there one set of conservation rules for them, while estate/letting agents are permitted to erect and leave in place for many months, large numbers of eye-catching boards which are totally out of keeping with the character and appearance of our conservation area?

Round Hill has a strong and growing sense of community pride, which could benefit estate and letting agencies, since it will be reflected in property values and the desirability of living in our neighbourhood. But the increase of signs (that in part reflects the growing number of short term student house rentals in our area) which are also left in place long after properties have been acquired, is a short-sighted strategy and one which increasingly annoys residents who take more than a short-term interest in our area.

Therefore, I formally request that Regulation 7 Direction - controlling the display of estate agents’ boards, of the Town and Country Planning Regulations 2007 is extended to include the Round Hill Conservation Area.

I also invite a representative from your team to talk to this request at our forthcoming AGM.

This will be held at Downs Infants School, 7.00pm 1st October 2014.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Yours faithfully

Annie Rimington
Chair of the Round Hill Society

Senior Planning Officer's Response

Annie's letter was answered on 19th September 2014 by Brighton and Hove City Council's Senior Planning Officer (Conservation) from the Heritage Team. His reply included the following information:

  • [1] Regulation 7 Directions may be proposed by the council but the decision on whether to make one rests with the Secretary of State and the Government does not generally support the introduction of additional planning controls unless there is a strong justification for them.
  • [2] The existing Regulation 7 Direction covering the central conservation areas of Brighton & Hove was made by the Secretary of State as recently as August 2010 and followed a public inquiry that was necessary as a result of objections to the proposed Direction, notably from the Brighton & Hove Estate Agents’ Association (BHEAA).
  • [3] In proposing the areas to be covered by the Direction the council was careful to present a case that could be robustly justified. The extent of the Direction as proposed was to cover those central conservation areas that are high density and where a large proportion of the historic buildings have been converted to flats of are in mixed residential and commercial use. Those who objected to the proposal, notably the BHEAA, considered that the area to be covered by the Direction should be considerably smaller. Following the public inquiry the Secretary of State mostly supported the council’s case but did omit the whole or part of some conservation areas from the Direction as made. The Old Town, Old Hove and Hove Station areas were omitted entirely whilst in the case of the Regency Square and Valley Gardens conservation areas only parts of those areas were included.
  • [4] In view of this comparatively recent decision we do not believe that a further Regulation 7 Direction would be likely to be supported by the Secretary of State. (Legally it would have to be a new Direction rather than an extension of the existing one). The proposing of a Direction involves a considerable amount of work for the council and we could not justify that work where there is such major doubt about a successful outcome and in a situation where we have many competing priorities.
  • [5] In the draft review of the council’s Conservation Strategy we have therefore taken the view that we will not be proposing any further Regulation 7 Directions in Brighton & Hove during the ten year period of the Strategy.
This page was last updated by Ted on 19-Sep-2014
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