‘Ban on estate agent boards a success’ - HBC

A campaign to rid the seafront of estate agents’ For Sale and To Let signs has been a resounding success, says the council.

The measure to ban the signs was brought in in 2009 by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government following a request by Hastings Borough Council.

Councillors were concerned over the large numbers of For Sale and To Let signs along the seafront, sometimes with more than 100 on display. They thought they were making the town look scruffy and damaging its image.

At a council cabinet meeting last Monday (November 3), Cllr Peter Chowney, lead member for planning at Hastings Borough Council (HBC), said: “Not that long ago Hastings seafront was a forest of estate agents’ boards, indeed some national newspapers still used library photos taken then of a small number of properties almost hidden by these boards, several to each property. We have a fantastic, historic, seafront, and these boards were just a blot on this.

“We applied to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for permission which took away ‘deemed consent’ for these boards, meaning that planning permission had to be applied for. And we would not grant this except in the most exceptional circumstances.

“The original permission only lasted five years, and expired at the end of 2014, so we asked the Secretary of State to renew it, but this time make it in perpetuity, so that it did not have to be renewed every five years.

“This request was granted, which means we are now free of the forest of estate agents’ boards on our seafront for ever. Hastings is a great place to live, work, and visit, and we are determined to keep it that way. Our planning enforcement work, which includes this and our ‘Grotbusters’ initiative on tatty and derelict buildings, and which is being copied by councils elsewhere, shows that we really do mean it.”