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The battle over Oban’s A-boards could soon be solved thanks to a £44,000 grant earmarked for town centre signs.
The money from the from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund, including an additional investment from BID4Oban, will see new interpretation signs being installed, as well as upgraded notice boards.
The notice boards, managed by BID4Oban, will be to the same specification as the street furniture installed during the Oban town centre improvements some years ago.
Businesses on side-streets will have priority over advertising on the boards, which will also include maps.
This comes after council officers, without warning, left businesses baffled in March by removing unauthorised advertisement boards without notifying the owners.
The council apologised for taking them without notice and owners were able to collect them from the council yard.
Argyll and Bute Council and BID4Oban hope this will help de-clutter the pavements of A-frames.
Andrew Spence, chief executive of BID4Oban, said: ‘It is essential that we have a clean and tidy, well-maintained town centre, and provide information to any visitors to the town.
‘There will be advertising on noticeboards and those that are in the side streets or off the main town centre streets will have priority to advertise on these.
‘It is essential that once the process starts that businesses apply for permission for any A-frames or additional signs. There is a clear policy that is available on both BID4Oban and Argyll and Bute websites.’
Jim Tolmie, of Oban and District Access Panel, said: ‘It is important for all pedestrians, particularly those with mobility and visual issues, to able to use public footways which are free from unnecessary illegal obstructions.’
Councillor David Kinniburgh, policy lead for planning and regulatory services, added: ‘We understand that businesses feel they need additional advertising in these difficult times.
‘However, we have to strike a balance between supporting local retailers and making our town centres accessible for pedestrians, and attractive to visitors.’
In the meantime, the council will be taking steps to enforce its A-board policy. Letters will be sent this month to businesses affected advising them to apply for permission.
Reminders will be issued in mid-August and in late-August/early-September, and any signs that do not have permission will be removed.
The policy for street signs can be found on the council website: www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/board-signs