Planning Chairman clarifies Council clamp down on roadside signage
28th January 2014
The Chairman of The Highland Council’s Planning Environment and Development Committee has clarified the Council’s clampdown on roadside signage, stressing that the main targets for action are unauthorised adverts which are long-standing, those which have a substantial adverse impact on amenity and those that give rise to road safety concerns.
Councillor Thomas Prag stressed that short-lived signage promoting community events, which did not impact on road safety, were not the focus of the Service’s enforcement action.
In a letter to a community council which raised concerns about recent enforcement action on signage, Councillor Prag wrote: “The Council has become increasingly concerned about the number of ad-hoc unauthorised signs that have sprung up along the sides of roads and in fields bounding roads in the Highlands. In some cases the signs are unsightly and detract from the amenity of the area. In others they pose road and pedestrian safety issues - sometimes both.
“As a Service, we are acutely aware of the need to promote, support and carefully manage economic development within the Highlands, and this is always in the forefront of our minds as we conduct our responsibilities under the Planning Acts. But this must be balanced against our duty to ensure that advertisements are erected in accordance with long-standing advertisement regulations (they’ve been in place since 1984), particularly in relation to road safety.
“That said, we do have it within our power to decide which unauthorised advertisements to pursue at any given time (whether through direct action, the serving of a notice or reporting to the Procurator Fiscal) and we always aim to be pragmatic in how we approach this work. Broadly speaking, we are only targeting those unauthorised adverts which are long-standing, have a substantial adverse impact on amenity or give rise to road safety concerns.
“The suggestion that we are banning all roadside advertising is inaccurate and it is regrettable if that is what people are being lead to believe. In our recent pre-Christmas enforcement action, for example, we did not target temporary signs advertising community events or short-lived festive business, unless they posed a specific risk to road safety. This is generally how we conduct our enforcement work in relation to adverts. We also have to give the best part of a week’s notice before removing an unauthorised sign, and that period follows any period for detection in the first place. Thus, a sign that is only positioned for a week or two, and is not located within visibility splays or in such a way as it would adversely impact on road safety, is unlikely to be subject to enforcement action.”
Recent outcomes of Redesign work were noted by Members at yesterday's Highland Council meeting. In the first year of the programme, 8 redesign projects were undertaken using a "Lean" approach and 36 staff have been trained as facilitators.
Motorists are being advised that The Highland Council is currently preparing to carry out resurfacing works at the following locations: â€¢ B862 Fort Augustus - Whitebridge - Torness - Dores â€“ Inverness Road; specifically at Errogie Village (North Gateway), Errogie Village (South Gateway), and Compass Farm; and â€¢ B851 Errogie â€“ Strathnairn â€“ Daviot Bridge â€“ Culloden Moor Road; specifically at Aberarder House. Advanced works notification signage will be provided at various locations from Thursday 15 March 2018.
The Highland Council has agreed a capital programme of Â£482m over the next 5 years. The Highland Council serves the largest geographical area in Scotland (over 30%) and has just under Â£2bn of assets on its balance sheet comprising, amongst other things, 203 operational schools, over 6,700km of roads and over 2,000 properties.
The Highland Council's Enforcement Officers have stepped up patrols in Caithness in a move to tackle the problem of littering, fly tipping and dog fouling. A number of fixed penalty notices have been issued recently including an Â£80 fine for dog fouling in the Stafford Lane and Back Bridge area of Wick, a Â£200 fine for fly-tipping on Ackergill Street and another Â£80 fine for dog fouling in Lybster.
Speaking ahead of today's Council meeting to agree the Council's Capital Programme for 2018/19 to 2022/23, Cllr Margaret Davidson, Leader of the Highland Council said:- "This programme delivers significant investment in a range of key projects across the Highlands. We are investing in schools, roads, bridges, harbours and flood prevention schemes that will benefit our communities.
Highland Council is to make a special case for extra capital investment in the road infrastructure after a winter period which has seen the Highlands battered by some 57 days of severe weather. Highland Council area is particularly subject to severe winter weather, which has a significant impact on the roads and other infrastructure.
Maps of the Council's gritting routes by priority and policy are available online at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting. The information provided is a summary of reports from operational staff and is intended to give a general indication of typical conditions in each area at a point in time.
The Â£48.5m Wick Community Campus built by Morrison Construction has been announced as a finalist at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2018. The project is entered in the category for "Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy" against eight other finalists from across the UK with the winner to be announced during a ceremony at Milton Court Concert Hall on 24 May 2018.
A Partnership for Procurement event was held in Inverness today (Thursday 6 March) to raise awareness and the capability of the third sector to successfully bid, supply and deliver services for the public sector. Partnership for Procurement (P4P) is a new initiative funded through the Scottish Government's 10 Year Social Enterprise Strategy; supporting social enterprises and third sector organisations to better access public contracts and build partnerships.
Across the Northern Alliance local authorities an exciting project has been rolled out to raise attainment in literacy, language and communication. The programme is being delivered in around 50% of primary schools across the Northern Alliance and is aimed at supporting practitioners to take a developmental approach to supporting early literacy development.
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