Advertising boards will no longer be allowed to be placed on pavements within the City of London, its local authority has ruled.
The City of London Corporation’s common council, its primary decision-making body, today decided to adopt a proposal to “keep pavements free of obstructions” as part of its transport strategy for the Square Mile.
The new measure (proposal 17, page 52) commits the Corporation to ensuring that “pavements and streets are free of obstructions” by “not permitting a-boards [advertising boards] on the public highway”.
Other pledges under the same policy include only allowing seating on pavements where businesses can demonstrate that “adequate width” for pedestrians during the busiest time of day, working with landlords and others to prevent streets becoming blocked by drinkers, and to continuing to “reduce clutter by removing unnecessary street furniture.
The move is part of what the Corporation calls a vision for “streets that inspire and delight” and help create “a Square Mile that is accessible to all” through the more efficient use of space, improving air quality, encouraging cycling and making public spaces as safe as possible.
Walking is the principal way that people get around the City, with 90 per cent of on-street journeys that start or finish there being entirely or partially walked. Nearly half a million workers in the City walk in the area at least once a day, with the number projected to rise by 125,000 within the next 25 years, but only 10 per cent say they find the experience pleasant.
The ban on advertising has been welcomed by London TravelWatch, the capital’s official transport users’ watchdog, which has been lobbying the Corporation to introduce it for some years. Only three of London’s 32 other local authorities – the boroughs of Hackney, Greenwich and Kingston – have specific commitments to keeping their pavement clear of such obstructions. Doing so is a legal duty, but London TravelWatch says this often goes unenforced.
The watchdog drew attention to the London Mayor’s transport strategy, which includes a commitment to, “Improve the accessibility of streets for older and disabled Londoners trough measures including obstacles”. The organisation’s chair, Arthur Leathley, welcomed “this great news”, adding: We know disability groups have been campaigning for years to persuade councils to keep their pavements clear. They are a particular problem for blind people that use white canes and for wheelchair users, but these boards are also a nuisance for everyone using the pavements.”
Yesterday, The Corporation announced that it is to clamp down on restaurants in the Square Mile that display inaccurate good hygiene ratings in their windows. Today also saw a call by its policy chair Catherine McGuinness for a renewed focus on what she called “the fundamental strength of London”, saying that this has been “overshadowed recently by Brexit turmoil and uncertainty”.