Traders’ fury at new charge for A-boards

The council has said A-boards are a risk ' but will let traders keep them if they pay.
The council has said A-boards are a risk ' but will let traders keep them if they pay.

Traders have reacted with anger at plans to charge for A-boards outside shops.

Kirklees Council has leafleted businesses in Kirklees warning they must clear the streets of A-boards from next month – or pay £106.25 for a licence.

It claims the idea is about making streets safer and improving the look of the town.

But traders have slammed the move as nothing more than a “money-making” scheme.

Gillian Roberts, of Dewsbury Diner in Daisy Hill, said many businesses relied on the boards.

“They say they are banning them for health and safety – but then you can have one if you pay. This will hit all businesses.”

Another trader in Westgate, Dewsbury, who did not want to be named, said she felt all traders were being punished because certain businesses put “half their shop” on the pavement.

“This is just another way of getting money out of you,” she added.

But Sam Heaton, who is the Guide Dogs’ fundraising co-ordinator for the Dewsbury area, supported the move.

Mrs Heaton, who has just 10 per cent of her vision, said: “If an A-board is blocking a large part of the pavement a guide dog will take you into the road.

“A lot of them aren’t put up with any consideration. It’s like doing a slalom in certain areas.”

Mrs Heaton was not convinced A-boards were crucial to business.

“There’s social media to advertise on now, which is free, and websites are fairly cheaply,” she added. “And if you have a big shop window do you really need a three foot board?”

A council spokesman said: “The Cabinet member will now work with teams in licensing and in enforcement to establish the best way to meet the aims of the scheme, that is making the walkways safer, and how that is funded.”