Anger at out-of-town market advertising in St Albans city centre

PUBLISHED: 18:35 04 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:54 06 May 2010

SHOPPERS in St Albans city centre are being targeted by advertisements promoting a rival market with free parking. Adverts on the back of tickets from some of the pay-and-display machines in encourage people to visit Bovingdon Market near Hemel Hempstead

SHOPPERS in St Albans city centre are being targeted by advertisements promoting a rival market with free parking.

Adverts on the back of tickets from some of the pay-and-display machines in encourage people to visit Bovingdon Market near Hemel Hempstead where there is "ample free parking".

Mike Crosby got one of the tickets when he parked on Spencer Street to visit the opticians.

He was appalled that people were being pushed towards a market elsewhere at a time when all retailers and traders in the city were feeling the pinch.

Mr Crosby, who used to work in St Albans but now runs a business in Harpenden, said that local businesses should be offered the advertising space.

He added: "It just seem so totally counter-productive. I think it is very strange that they should be promoting businesses outside the city centre, especially a market. I think that they should be using the facility to help the local cause even if it means compromising their income."

A spokesperson for NCP Services, which owns the machines, said that they had a contract with a ticket provider who sold the advertising, normally for national promotions.

He said that Bovingdon Market had taken out a long run of advertising with the company across the region.

But he said that NCP Services, a separate company to NCP, would be changing their ticket supplier in April.

He continued: "We have said to them as part of the new contract that we only want to use advertisements relevant to that area if advertising is used at all."

In the meantime the Bovingdon Market advertisements might continue to appear.

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