Two more city councils are considering bans on To Let boards in student areas, hot on the heels of Leicester where last month its local authority asked the government for statutory powers to ban the boards outright.
Leicester, like other cities hoping to restrict agent boards, is seeking a Regulation 7 Direction from the Secretary of State that would give it powers of control under the Town & Country Planning Act 2007.
Both Durham in Northumberland and Belfast in Northern Ireland are now considering such bans following public complaints within both cities about the number of boards on display and the length of time they remain outside properties.
In Durham local councillors are considering a ban within the city’s mainly student areas after the local MP and campaigners supported the move, despite a voluntary code of practice introduced in 2011.
“Whilst the introduction of the voluntary code for letting boards has seen a significant improvement in the situation we are aware that there continues to be breaches in some areas by some agents,” Stuart Timmiss (pictured, left), Durham City Council’s head of planning and assets, told The Northern Echo.
In Belfast its local authority today began a public consultation on its proposals to restrict the use of To Let boards in student areas. These include to limit the size of boards, force them to be fixed flush against a building’s exterior and restrict how long they can be displayed for. Belfast City Council has also said an outright ban on To Let boards is also on the cards.
Local council Declan Boyle told the Belfast Telegraph: “Some of them are left up for more than half the year. These ‘to let’ boards make the areas look run-down, unloved, poor and rejected.
“There’s no need for them in this day and age.”
Cities that have already banned To Let boards in student areas include Newcastle, Cardiff, Liverpool, Loughborough, Nottingham, Brighton & Hove and Preston.