Thursday, August 26, 2010

Removing Street Clutter (signs)

Lazy blog post today regurgitating a press release, but I know it's an issue in Stratford, with people very concerned about the number of signs on the streets runing the look of the area. As a bit of commentary, Eric Pickles continues to deliver. There's no recess for that man.

Councils will today be urged to get rid of unnecessary signs, railings and advertising hoardings in a bid to make streets tidier and less confusing for motorists and pedestrians.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Philip Hammond are concerned that the character of the country’s urban spaces is being damaged and have written to councils leaders calling on them to reduce the number of signs and other ‘street clutter’.

The Government believes that in some cases traffic signs and railings are installed by councils in the mistaken belief that they are legally required. However, although some signs are required by law, Government advice is that for signs to be most effective they should be kept to a minimum. To help councils do this the Department for Transport is reviewing traffic signs policy and new advice on how to reduce clutter will be published later this year.

Ministers want communities to inform local authorities of particularly bad examples of clutter as part of the Big Society in action. Organisations who promote good urban design like Civic Voice, Living Streets and are already helping people alert councils to examples of clutter and showing people how to carry out street audits.

Eric Pickles said:
“Our streets are losing their English character. We are being overrun by scruffy signs, bossy bollards, patchwork paving and railed off roads wasting taxpayers' money that could be better spent on fixing potholes or keeping council tax down. We need to ‘cut the clutter’.

“Too many overly cautious townhall officials are citing safety regulations as the reason for cluttering up our streets with an obstacle course when the truth is very little is dictated by law. Common sense tells us uncluttered streets have a fresher, freer authentic feel, which are safer and easier to maintain.

“Organisations like Civic Voice, Living Streets and fixmystreet can help councils provide a Big Society solution – local people carrying out street audits will bring power and character back to neighbourhoods.”

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