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Council to consider removing unnecessary signs
COUNCIL officers will into the number of unnecessary street signs in Southend after one resident complained he could see 17 from his front door.
Simon Isaac, 45, is frustrated by the forest of bollards and parking signs blighting Park Road and Queens Road, Southend, which are in a conservation area.
The company director said: “The residents’ parking signs at the end of the road are 5ft high. They are bigger than some signs on the A127.
“They are blighting the conservation area. The council is not protecting it.”
He accused the council of ignoring a call from Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin last week for local authorities to remove unnecessary traffic signs.
Tony Cox, cabinet member for Transport on Southend Council, pledged to ask officers to consider if any signs can be removed in line with government guidance to rid streets of clutter.
The Tory councillor said: “I will certainly raise it with officers. I’m sure they are aware of the secretary of state’s memo and when I have my regular briefings with them I will see if it’s something we are looking into.”
Mr Isaac said when the council replaces old signs in the street workmen failed to uproot the original signs being replaced, causing a duplication of both signs and posts.
He claims there are now two signs indicated a single disabled parking space, when the person for whom the bay was created has now moved away anyway, making it redundant.
In one five-house stretch of Queens Road between Park Street and Park Road Mr Isaac counted two residents’ parking signs, two disabled parking signs and two parking zone signs – totalling six signs for only five homes.
Mr Cox pointed out that statutory regulations means the authority is obligated to put up certain signs, but Mr Isaac called for several different signs to be consolidated on one post, cutting down on the street clutter.
He said: “They should remove and consolidate some of the signs. They could remove some of the posts and consolidate four of the parking signs on one post.”
The Department for Transport has issued local authorities with new leaflet of guidance, called Reducing Sign Clutter.
It encourages them to improve the street scene by identifying and removing unnecessary, damaged and worn-out signs, help ensure signs are provided only where they are needed, minimise the environmental impact, particularly in rural settings, of signs and reduce the costs, not just of the signs themselves but maintenance and energy costs.
Mr Isaac said making and installing a sign costs £1,000 to £2,000, meaning more than £70,000 had been spent in his street alone during a time of supposed austerity.
He said this could be better spent on maintaining the dirty and corroded signs and posts already in place.
Mr Cox said he broadly agreed with the idea of reducing signage and pointed to the removal of signs from the shared space at City Beach, on Southend seafront.
He said: “My view is if there’s a sign that’s unnecessary, it shouldn’t be there. Without looking at specific cases, I generally support the view that they should only be there when essential.”
Mr McLoughlin said: “There are too many unnecessary signs blotting the landscapes of our towns and cities.
“That is why I have published new guidance, to help encourage local authorities to make old, confusing and ugly signs a thing of the past.”