BSGA fights over 140 planning battles
The British Sign and Graphics Association (BSGA) has lodged over 140 protests against proposed local planning laws over recent years in defence of its members and the sign industry as a whole.
Local authorities are now empowered to set out regulations covering planning applications within their areas and these ‘Local Plans’ can often carry conditions that could adversely affect the production and installation of signs.
“If these proposals are not monitored and fought against when necessary, unfair and unwarranted restrictions could slip through and cause major problems for the sign industry,” explained BSGA Director David Catanach.
“Before the advent of local plans there was one set of regulations covering planning applications for signs. Everyone knew where they stood,” he said. “Now, every planning authority in the country can produce its own regulations, resulting in a free for all and a raft of different regulations for different areas. You can even find situations where one set of rules governs one end of a street and a completely different set controls the other.
“We are also very conscious that what gets through for one authority may well be adopted by neighbouring authorities when they see what has been allowed without objection” he added.
The BSGA, together with its specialist advisors, has taken on the arduous task of monitoring every Local Plan that is published for consultation and submits formal objections where it is considered that any regulations are restrictive.
“As an example, one local council which has a designated conservation area within its boundary decided that all fascia signs should be hand painted on wood. It was, obviously, a clause initially formulated for the conservation area. This was not stated in the plan and because, in legal terms, there is no such thing as a conservation area, the planning policy would have prevailed throughout the council’s territory,” explained David.
“The BSGA objected on the grounds that the clause was unnecessarily restrictive for districts outside the conservation area and the plan was modified as a result. Had we not acted, it’s highly likely that the plan would have gone through in its original form and local signmakers would have had a battle to get anything other than hand-painted wooden signs past the planners anywhere in the district.
“Many signmakers are oblivious to the changes in planning laws and the problems and damage these can cause. So, as the principal representative organisation for the UK sign industry, the BSGA acts to safeguard the interests of our members – and the industry as a whole benefits. ” he said.
“It’s one of the vital things we do ‘behind the scenes’ and, whilst generally it goes unnoticed, without our monitoring programme the industry would be unaware of the restrictions planned by local authorities.”
The BSGA has now launched a new archive on its website – www.bsga.co.uk/planning-matters-archive – where all the objections can be reviewed. The archive is organised alphabetically so people can easily find out what has happened in their local areas. The archive will now be kept up to date with all new activities.
“The archive reveals the depth of the work that goes into looking after the interests of the industry in terms of planning regulations and it should also be a useful tool for signmakers across the country.”
For further information contact David Catanach at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.bsga.co.uk