Frustrated Harpenden man speaks out about ‘dangerous’ A-boards in town centre

PUBLISHED: 12:16 29 January 2019

A-board

A-board

Archant

A frustrated pedestrian is calling on businesses to move their “dangerous” advertising boards because they pose a hazard to blind and partially sighted people.

Roland Box is speaking out about the stand-alone heavy frames which are put up outside businesses to attract potential custom, commonly called A-boards, and has focused his attention on Harpenden.

The pensioner says they cause an obstruction: “They block the pavement and they can’t be seen by blind people. They are dangerous for them and in some cases are on a third of a six foot wide pavement around the town centre.

“Quite frankly I can’t see what the commercial benefit of them is - the shop is there, why need an A-board?”

Roland described an avoidable incident in Southdown last October: “It was unfortunate that the wind caught the A-board and blew it into a woman’s leg, knocking her over - a couple of people rushed over to help her and she picked herself up, dusted down and walked away again - but it could have been a serious ambulance call to hospital.

“I am sure that people don’t realise when they put them out that they can be dangerous.”

Roland recently took a walking survey of Harpenden and found nearly 70 A-boards around the town centre

He wants to raise awareness of the challenges facing blind people in busy areas.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) are also currently running a campaign against pavement obstructions, called Who Put That There!. It says: “By their very nature A-boards obstruct pedestrians from being able to move in a straight line along the pavement. They present a trip and collision hazard, especially to people who cannot see them and who use mobility aids.”

Last May The City of Edinburgh Council banned all temporary on-street advertising structures, including A-boards.

Herts county council (HCC) is in charge of keeping pavements clear for pedestrians in Harpenden.

An HCC spokesperson said there is guidance for A-board use on their website and any concerns should be reported there: “Although businesses don’t need a licence to display an A-board, they must make sure that boards are the right size and they’re used safely.”

As Harpenden is a conservation area, businesses wishing to use A-boards must obtain consent from St Albans district council.

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