Appeal to ban ‘A-boards’ in St Andrews

Market Street.
Market Street.

Concerns have been raised about the number of advertising boards in St Andrews.

Local residents, the community council and the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) have called for action to be taken to curb the number of ‘A-boards’ in the town.

The complaints focus on the impact the boards have on pedestrians, especially those with mobility issues.

Jo Roger (66) said she counted 77 of the ‘A-boards’ along Market Street and South Street.

She is now calling for all of the boards to be removed from the town.

“They seem to proliferate,” she told the Citizen. “It’s now rare that a shop doesn’t have one.

“It’s a danger to the blind and disabled. It is now beyond a joke – it’s become a nuisance.

“It has become cramped. St Andrews is designated as a proper shopping destination and I think it is being ruined because it is not a pleasurable experience. They are cluttering up the pavements.”

The RNIB backed Jo’s call for the boards to be banned.

The organisation has been vocal about the issue over the years, and earlier this year Edinburgh Council voted to ban the advertising boards.

It launched a Street Charter in 2015, which found that one third of blind and partially sighted people had been injured by obstacles like advertising boards and bollards.

James Adams, director of RNIB Scotland, said: “RNIB Scotland is calling for local authorities to review their policies in relation to the most common obstacles, and engage with blind and partially sighted residents to put accessibility at the heart of local planning.”

St Andrews Community Council said it has also become “concerned about the apparent proliferation of ‘A-boards’ in the town centre.

Callum MacLeod, chair of the council, said the boards were “obstructing the free flow of pedestrian traffic, causing particular difficulties for the less mobile, wheelchair users, the sight-impaired and those with pushchairs.”

He suggested that, if ‘A-boards’ were allowed, devised guidelines should be introduced, with enforced regulations and licences.

Derek Crowe, senior manager at Fife Council, said: “We can and do take action where these are causing a problem.

“We have previously carried out campaigns/enforcement, and every time we do, for a period we see a significant reduction. Unfortunately over time the numbers start to creep back up.

“When A-boards are identified as an obstruction or road safety is an issue we will ask for it to be removed, or our own staff will remove the boards if they are causing an immediate danger.

“Unfortunately the traders may simply put their board back out once our staff leave the area.

“We receive very few complaints about A-boards, but when we do, we will act. If any A-boards are seen to be causing a particular problem and are brought to our attention we will follow these up.”