Sheffield residents are calling for a ban on ‘to let’ boards that they say are blighting areas popular with students.
Tony Flatley, from Walkley, will ask Sheffield Council to consider following the lead of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which successfully applied to the Government for powers to control the advertising boards used by letting agents.
He and others who signed his petition believe there are too many boards in areas with high student populations, such as Walkley, Crookes, Broomhill and Sharrow.
“We have got a big problem in Sheffield, largely around areas with a lot of rented accommodation,” said the retired 57-year-old.
“With the number of ‘to let’ boards that are up, it’s the visual impact, but it’s also the fact that actually it’s a burglar’s paradise. It highlights areas where burglars can go in and steal while the houses are empty.”
Mr Flatley said in other areas around the country where similar problems have arisen, councils have eventually been able to take control after getting special powers from the Government.
Some, including Newcastle Council, initially attempted to sign agents to sign up to a voluntary agreement to take advertising boards out shortly after a property was let. But after this only proved partly successful, they applied to the secretary of state for communities and local government for powers to restrict the number of boards that could be put up.
Mr Flatley said there was evidence to suggest that most people looking for rented accommodation - and students in particular - actually found properties online, rather than from advertising boards, so new restrictions would not affect agents too much.
“For the people that live in these areas, it actually has quite a large impact,” said Mr Flatley.
“My petition will go in front of Sheffield Council on February 1. The point for me is just to get discussion started.
“Local councillors weren’t aware of what had happened in Newcastle.”
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