Angered by cut in sign allowance
Antiques fair organisers have criticised highway officials who have drastically reduced the number of roadside signs they are allowed to direct customers to the events.
Anyone wanting to place temporary signs on the highway must first gain permission from Nottinghamshire County Council, the highways authority.
In the past, ten signs have been allowed around Winthorpe and Coddington publicising the Advertiser Antiques Fairs.
The two-day fairs, at Winthorpe Community Centre every two months, attract visitors from Japan, the Netherlands, Canada and Spain, and are free to attend.
The Advertiser employs Traffic Management Services of Retford to apply for permission to put up the signs, and then take them down.
It was told last week by the council that signs would be allowed only in four of the ten spots applied for, all of which are close to Winthorpe, but they would still have to pay for ten, which was the minimum charge.
The Advertiser’s marketing director, Mrs Rachel Brown, said signs were allowed at the turn-off on to the A1133, at the turn into Winthorpe on Gainsborough Road, at Winthorpe Post Office, and on Hargon Lane.
Mrs Brown said: “There are signs for six-a-side football plastered everywhere, and yellow signs for housing developments.
“But we go through the right channels, applying for planning permission, and are told we cannot have as many signs any more. It does not seem to be a level playing field.”
An antiques dealer, Mrs Linda Perry, of Nottingham, will hold an antiques fairs at Balderton Village Centre, on Coronation Street, for the first time this weekend, because The Bearings on Bowbridge Road, Newark, is due to close.
Mrs Perry also employs TMS and said they were refused permission for ten signs, directing people from the north side of Newark to Bowbridge Road.
Mrs Perry said: “They have allowed us only three signs, with one directing people from the A1, and two directing people into Coronation Street.
“It should not be seen as advertising. They are directional signs, and I have already had dealers calling me to ask where it is.”
The county council’s principal co-ordinating officer for communities, Mr Heath Phillips, said they were applying policy regarding positioning of legal signs, following a crackdown on illegal road signs that hadseen hundreds torn down.
He said they now allowed temporary signs only on the nearest main road, or A road, to an event.
He said they were intended to stop people driving around in circles, not to advertise events or encourage people to visit them impulsively.
He said most people visiting the fair at Winthorpe, for instance, would know where the village was, or could find it with maps, but needed the local signs to find the fair’s location.
He said the location and number of signs was not negotiable, but unfortunately some people were now worse off.
Mr Phillips said no offenders had yet been prosecuted and fined, but if the council continued to remove signs belonging to certain companies, they would take legal action.