Leicester is the latest city to go live with a scheme that requires letting agents to apply for planning permission to erect boards in areas heavily dominated by students.
The council yesterday revealed that it is to start implementing new powers granted to it by the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government (DHCLG) to ban To Let boards in half a dozen areas in and around the University of Leicester and De Montford University.
Under the Regulation 7 Direction order landlords or agents must now apply for planning consent to put up signs advertising a property and, if they don’t, will be fined up to £2,500.
The areas affected are the Windermere, Hazel, Clarendon Park (pictured, above), Greenhill, West End, Ashleigh Road and West End conservation parts of the city.
The ban follows a decade-long attempt to control boards in these areas through a voluntary code of practice but, the council says, only a ‘handful’ of landlords and agents have complied with this.
To let boards
The council was moved to apply for a Regulation 7 Direction order after locals in these areas complained of an almost constant flurry of boards outside properties.
“They are intrusive and often misleading, serving as little more than advertisements for the letting agents themselves.
“Despite our best efforts, these advertising hoardings continue to create an eyesore in areas with a high concentration of rental properties,” say councillor Piara Singh Clair (pictured).
“We are pleased that the planning inspector has agreed that more powers are needed to tackle this problem in the worst affected parts of the city.”
But letting agents shouldn’t fear a rapid increase in the number of bans like Leicester’s.
The process is lengthy to say the least; Leicester began the consultation process in early 2016 and we reported, submitted its bid to the MHCLG in October that year and after being given the green light in February this year, is only now about to go live with the ban.