TOWN centre businesses have been ordered to remove street signage in a North Yorkshire County Council crackdown.
'A' boards displayed in The Crescent and Gowthorpe – including two belonging to Wetherells department store – were slapped with 'illegal' warning notices advising staff to remove them or run the risk of having them seized and destroyed or face a fine or prosecution.
Director Mark Wetherell said: "The signs have been in place outside the store without complaint every day for years and I can't understand why, without warning, they're suddenly a problem.
"It's a double blow when on the first day of trying to resume normality after the renaissance works we're slapped with these notices.
"In this current economic climate, traders should be allowed and encouraged to promote their business to customers, not prevented."
Mr Wetherell said he was currently examining the listed building's deeds to determine ownership of land outside its front entrance, and called on all Selby businesses to flout the ban in protest.
He added: "Let's get as many 'A' boards out in the town centre as possible – we'll all get prosecuted, go to one big hearing to make our point and split the cost."
The store has battled authorities about its appearance before when told by Selby District Council to apply for retrospective planning permission for its historic flagpoles in November 2006. Permission was finally granted following an appeal and a campaign by supporters.
An NYCC spokeswoman said: "Across the county, there has been increasing concern about proliferating advertising signs – many are 'A' boards – because they can constitute an obstruction as defined under the Highways Act 1980.
"Because of this, businesses around the county are being warned advertising signs standing in the pavement are illegal.
"The county council has been approached on numerous occasions by charitable organisations campaigning for access for the blind and partially sighted, concerned about the obstruction caused by increasing numbers of these signs.
"In Selby, the council showed some consideration to businesses while the renaissance roadworks were underway, aware traders needed to keep custom flowing. However, now the roadworks have finished, the council is anxious 'A' boards and similar advertising signs are removed."
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Weather for Selby
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North
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