Traders have dismissed Kirklees Council’s plans to crackdown on town centre advertising boards as nothing but a blatant money-making scheme.

Council chiefs have leafleted shops, pubs and businesses in Huddersfield warning they plan to clear the streets of A-boards from next month.

They say the idea is about making the streets safer and improving the look of the town but traders can apply for a licence to keep their boards – at a cost of £106.25.

 

The council’s Cabinet approved moves to shift A-boards and clear goods off pavements in December and the policy is due to come into force on September 15.

It is understood the policy will apply to all towns and village centres across Kirklees.

Traders in Huddersfield have reacted angrily and say the council is just out to make more money.

David Naylor, who runs Greaves Photographers Ltd in New Street, said: “This is not about health and safety, it’s about money raising, pure and simple.

“If the council is struggling what do they think the shops and businesses are like?

“We put advertising boards outside to attract in customers so we can pay our rent and business rates to the council.

“The last six years have been really tough for business but we have survived. What is the council trying to do to us?”

David Naylor, of Greaves Photographers Ltd in Huddersfield is angry about the council's plans
David Naylor, of Greaves Photographers Ltd in Huddersfield is angry about the council's plans
 

David, 61, who runs the family business with brother John, 64, added: “This is just another knife in the back. This is another £100 on top of all the other charges we have to pay.

“Kirklees lives in a different world to the one we live in.”

Other traders were equally scathing. Ian Nugent, one of the managers of the Albert pub in Victoria Lane, said: “Lots of shops and businesses who are not on the main street rely on boards to tell customers where they are.

“Shops and pubs have to pay Kirklees business rates but you have to ask what we actually get for that. We don’t get our bins emptied, that’s separate, and now we have to pay for A-boards.

“This is all about Kirklees making more money.”

Another pub licensee, who asked not to be named, said: “We are off the beaten track and need these boards. We already pay about £7,000 a year in business rates and this is another tax on us.”

A council spokesman confirmed the licence would cost £106.25 and referred to a report to Cabinet on December 17.

The report said the council was concerned that A-boards and goods displayed on pavements “may present a hazard” and cause people to step into the road.

The boards posed a particular risk to blind or partially-sighted people, those with disabilities or people with prams.

The boards also spoiled the look of streets and even discouraged shoppers from coming to town.

A licensing system would give the council control over the number, size and location of boards.

Traders using a board without a licence could be prosecuted.

The report said the council wouldn’t make any money and the policy was likely to be “cost neutral” with licence fees and fines likely to balance out the costs of running the scheme.