In a letter delivered to traders yesterday (June 3rd) – in at least one case by a police officer or a PCSO – ‘Mr. Travis Hill’ an enforcement officer for Croydon, warns that enforcement officers will be conducting weekly patrols and removing all obstructions on the public footway / highway deemed to be unsafe for pedestrians or causing an inconvenience but then adds:
“Your co-operation would be appreciated to prevent the issue of a statutory notice.”
The letter from Mr Travis Hill also states that “the obstruction of a public footway by store / business ‘A’ boards and other signage placed on the public highway / footway causes a considerable inconvenience to pedestrians and local residents.
“The council has certain rights and duties to make sure such obstructions are removed and enforce action against those who refuse to co-operate and ignore the council’s requests under section 152 (1) and section 154 (1) of the Highways Act 1980.”
But Croydon council’s implied threat to remove all obstructions without notice does not appear to be covered by section 152 (1) of the Highways Act which says:
Powers as to removal of projections from buildings
(1)A competent authority may by notice to the occupier of any building require him to remove or alter any porch, shed, projecting window, step, cellar, cellar door, cellar window, sign, signpost, sign iron, showboard, window shutter, wall, gate, fence or other obstruction or projection which has been erected or placed against or in front of the building and is an obstruction to safe or convenient passage along a street.
(2)A notice under subsection (1) above may, at the option of the authority, be served on the owner of the building instead of on the occupier or may be served on both the owner and the occupier.
(3)A person aggrieved by a requirement under subsection (1) above may appeal to a magistrates’ court.
(4)Subject to any order made on appeal, if a person on whom a notice under subsection (1) above is served fails to comply, within 14 days from the date of service of the notice on him, with a requirement of the notice, he is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding [F1level 1 on the standard scale].
(5)Where an authority serve a notice under subsection (1) above on any person and he is guilty of an offence by reason of his failure to comply with a requirement of the notice within the time specified in subsection (4) above then, whether or not proceedings are taken against him in respect of the offence, the authority may remove the obstruction or projection to which the notice relates and may recover the expenses reasonably incurred by them in so doing from the owner or occupier of the building if, in either case, he is a person on whom the notice was served.
AND SECTION 154 of the Highways Act 1980 covers “Cutting or felling etc. trees etc. that overhang or are a danger to roads or footpaths.”!!!!
(Source: www.legislation.gov.uk )
The issue is set to be discussed at tonight’s meeting of Crystal Palace and Norwood Chamber of Commerce at the Phoenix Centre, Westow Street which starts at 6.30pm. The letter is marked:
ATTENTION Westow Street / Westow Hill / Church Street (sic).
A Croydon council spokesman said today (Wednesday June 5th): “It seems the letters in Upper Norwood are the result of a series of complaints and a subsequent walkabout that identified a number of problems in the area.”
IN JANUARY Croydon issued the following statement in the wake of local and regional news stories:
ADVERTISING CONTROLS TO REDUCE PAVEMENT CLUTTER
Proposals to make pavements in the (Croydon) town centre safer and less cluttered are to be considered by Croydon council.
With parts of the town becoming increasingly clogged with uncontrolled advertising signs, the plan is to bring in rules governing their size and location.
The roads where controls would apply include the area from East Croydon to Reeves Corner and from West Croydon to the end of Surrey Street.
If agreed, the plans would mean that businesses would be limited to just one pavement sign – usually known as an A-board – and hand-held placards would no longer be allowed anywhere in the area.
Initial talks with members of the local business improvement district have shown that such a decision is likely to be generally welcomed as it will improve the overall look of the town centre.
Cllr Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety and public protection, said: “Whilst we want to let the town’s businesses to continue to promote themselves, we do need to ensure that’s done in a sensible way. “Right now the spread of these boards is more like fly-posting, but by introducing these new rules we’ll be able to exercise much more control over the number, size and location of portable adverts.”
Full details of how applications for advertising consent would be assessed are contained in draft guidance that will be subject to a consultation period of at least three weeks. If the council decides to proceed with its plans then information on how to give views will be published in the local press, within the area affected and on the council website.