Planning and development portfolio holder Cllr Ann Newton has decided to delegate new powers to the head of planning and environmental services.
These will enable removal notices to be served, and enable steps to be taken to remove them if the notice is not complied with.
The authority would also be able to recover expenses incurred in exercising the power.
A council report on the decision says there are currently a number of structures in place within the district which are being used to display unauthorised adverts which would not be considered as acceptable.
The report says: “Prosecution is currently the only action which can be taken, but this can result in considerable delay in achieving a desired outcome and there is a risk that the outcome may not be in the council’s favour.”
New powers would enable officers to act “more effectively and in a timely manner to secure the removal of unauthorised advertisements and their structures in the district”.
Structures are defined as:
- A hoarding or similar structure used, or designed or adapted for use, for the display of advertisements
- Anything principally used, or designed or adapted for use, for the display of advertisements
- A structure that is itself an advertisement, or
- Fitments used to support anything within, and of, the paragraphs (1) to (3).
A removal notice must allow the relevant party at least 22 days, beginning with the date of the notice, in which to remove the unauthorised structure.
“Failure to comply with the removal notice would enable the local planning authority to remove, and dispose of, the unauthorised display structure.
“It also allows it to recover, from any person on whom the removal notice has been served, expenses reasonably incurred by the local planning authority in exercising the power.”
The report adds that powers under Section 225A of the Localism Act 2011 are considered to be a potentially useful tool for ensuring that any unauthorised advertisements, which do not fall under the category of flyposting, can be removed effectively, and with significantly quicker outcomes than prosecution.
“However, in cases where repeat offenders fail to comply with removal notices, the use of prosecution would still be available.”
Cllr Newton’s decision is subject to the council’s call-in process in the event that it is challenged by other councillors.
• Earlier this month Uckfield Town Mayor Cllr Spike Mayhew expressed concern at a town council meeting that local businesses could be charged £800 by the highways authority (East Sussex County Council) to have advertising ‘A’ boards outside their premises. Read more in this Uckfield News story: Uckfield Mayor fears ‘new charge’ on High Street advertising boards.