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The location, siting and to a certain extent the design of advertisement display is governed by the Advertisement Regulations which, in Uttlesford, are administered by the council's Development Control.

A great number of buildings in the District, particularly those in town centre commercial locations, are listed as being of historic or architectural importance. It is important to remember that Listed Building Consent for advertisements will nearly always be required even if consent is not necessary under the Advertisement Regulations. This is because all but the most discrete signs will affect the character of such buildings.

Outdoor advertisements and signs: a guide for advertisers

The government guide Outdoor advertisements and signs aims to explain to those wanting to display an outdoor advertisement how the system of advertisement control works in England.

Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007

This Circular gives an outline of the revised system of advertisement control and includes relevant advice about advertisement applications to local planning authorities, appeals to the Secretary of State and how to deal with unauthorised advertisements. The Regulations to which this Circular relates only apply to England. This replaces Circulars 15/94 and 5/92.

Planning Policy Guidance 19 (PPG19)

Planning Policy Guidance 19 (PPG19) explains that the main purpose of the advertisement control system is to help those involved in outdoor advertising to contribute positively to the appearance of an attractive environment in cities, towns and the countryside.

General Guidance

Advertisements That May Not Require Consent

There are many advertisements which are excluded from control or benefit from what is known as the `deemed consent'. Where such advertisements are not affixed to a listed building, consent will not be required, provided the detailed criteria set out in the Regulations are observed.

A few examples where this applies include advertisements which are displayed on enclosed land, such as a sports stadium; advertisements on a moving vehicle, such as a bus; advertisements in the form of price tickets, markers, trade names, subject to size restrictions; traffic signs; advertisements inside a building, e.g. in a shop window, subject to criteria; miscellaneous advertisements on any premises such as a street number, name of a dwelling, a private sign such as `No Parking Please', a company name or notice board subject to a maximum area of 0.3 sq metres (amongst other restrictions), temporary advertisements and advertisements on business premises, both subject to size restrictions.

Blinds on shops fronts

Many shops have blinds which may carry advertisements. There are traditional Roller and Fan blinds which can be retracted and fixed blinds which include `glossy' Dutch blinds. Where any blind is affixed to a Listed Building, Listed Building Consent will be required.

Planning permission will generally be required where the blind is fixed as a permanent feature, although when it is retractable, it will not normally require planning permission unless the `box' into which the blind retracts is not flush with the facia.

`Dutch' blinds with gaudy colours and fabricated of glossy material are not acceptable in Conservation Areas. Retractable blinds should normally cover the whole width of a shopfront, but should not obscure columns or other features of interest. Fixed blinds, if appropriate, should always be recessed into the window reveal. Blinds are best fabricated of a traditional material, such as canvas.

Elements of good design

The need to advertise and the role of advertising can play in attracting trade and business are appreciated and understood. Whilst the Council does not wish to act unnecessarily restrictively, it has to take into account that many signs affect listed buildings and Conservation Areas, where great care and attention are necessary to ensure that advertisement displays are sympathetic to the building and the character of the area.

In such locations signs are generally most appropriate if they are hand painted directly onto the facia on the wall of a building. A hanging sign may also be appropriate. Generally speaking such hanging signs should be simply shaped, for example in the form of a well proportioned rectangle, be of stoved enamel or constructed of timber. The use of harsh materials and bright colours will normally be inappropriate. The manner in which signs on adjacent premises relate to each is particularly important. All too frequently uncoordinated colours, sizes, heights of facia boards, lettering styles and other components of several advertisements in close proximity to one another have eroded the qualities of a historic street scene.

Locating the sign centrally on the building or centrally between two windows and selecting a colour that is harmonious with other elements of the building on which it is fixed can assist considerably. Ensuring that the height of the sign is well related to horizontal elements on the building is also important. Occasionally it may be possible to retain very good examples of `old' advertising contemporary with the buildings age. Some lettering styles are inappropriate to the architectural qualities of the building or the Conservation Area. Internally illuminated signs in Conservation Areas or on Listed Buildings will nearly always be inappropriate.

Estate Agents Boards

A proliferation of several such signs on a property are environmentally unacceptable and controlled by the regulations. `For Sale' or `Let' boards are limited to only one board (or 2 boards if joined together) on each road frontage and they must be on the building or land to which they relate. The size relating to residential premises is restricted to 0.5 sq. metres or in the case of co-formed boards, 0.6 sq. metres. `For Sale' signs relating to commercial premises must not exceed 2 sq. metres or 2.3 if co-joined.

It is unlawful for more than one estate agent to erect a sign on any property even if is has more than one road frontage. Notices must be removed 14 days after the sale or letting.

Freestanding Boards

Freestanding boards frequently seen on the pavement of shopping areas are often illegally placed on land which is controlled by the County Council. They detract from the street scene and are hazardous to pedestrians, particularly those who are elderly or blind. They are generally inappropriate and may be subject to removal.

Making an application

If you find you do need to make an application to display your advertisement you should complete an application form which you can obtain from the Development Control Business Centre. An application fee will be required and a list of charges will be sent to you with the appropriate application forms. There is no fee if listed building consent alone is required.

In deciding your application the aspects that will be considered are the effect of your advertisement on "amenity" i.e. the visual effect of your advertisement on the local environment when viewed by passers by or people living nearby and "public safety" i.e. whether it will be a hazard to the safe use and operation of any form of traffic. The content of your advertisement is not a consideration taken into account.

Submit your applications online via the Planning Portal

Certain adverts require consent. This is separate from Planning and Listed Building permission and you may need both types of approval. Use this application form & submit relevant drawings, inc details of the advert itself.

If your application is for any other category of development, you will need to complete another type of application form. Further guidance can be found on our Planning permission page.