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Have a say on council bid to control ‘to let’ boards

Published on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

FORMAL controls over the display of ‘to let’ boards in areas of Leicester could be introduced if a city council bid to Government is successful.

Earlier this year, Leicester City Council submitted a bid to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to restrict the display of to let boards in areas around the University of Leicester and De Montfort University.

The Government has today (18 Oct) commenced a formal consultation to allow people to comment on the council’s bid before a decision is made.

If the proposal is agreed, it would mean that formal permission would be required for to let boards to be displayed in areas of Clarendon Park, Knighton Fields, South Fields and the West End. It would also give the council more powers to act against boards displayed without permission.

Cllr Piara Singh Clair, assistant city mayor with responsibility for planning enforcement, said: “In some streets around the city’s two universities, ‘to let’ boards can be on display for large parts of the year – almost permanently. Previous consultations have found that this has been a concern to local residents.

“We introduced a voluntary code of practice three years ago. Unfortunately, only a handful of agents have complied with this and we continue to see large numbers of these advertisements on display.

“Many students looking for property to rent now use online searches when they’re looking for property, so the boards are largely used as advertising for the agents rather than serving their proper purpose.”

If the ban is brought in, agents and landlords will be able to advertise vacant properties using much smaller internal boards, placed inside windows.

Landlords or agents who fail to comply could face prosecution, and fines up to £2,500.

Comments on the council’s submission should be made in writing to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government c/o Mr Kim Chowns, Department of Communities and Local Government, 3rd Floor, Fry Building, NE Quarter, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1 4DF.

The government inspector will consider all comments received by the deadline of 8 November. If the proposal is agreed, the new powers could be in place within six to 12 months.

Councils can apply for powers to control the display of to let boards under Regulation 7 of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007.

Full details of the council’s proposal are available to view at the main Customer Service Centre on Granby Street, and online at www.leicester.gov.uk/letboards