No more agents' boards for conservation areas?

New ruling could see 'For Sale' signs banned from much of Chiswick

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Estate Agents in Chiswick

Faron Sutaria
Andrew Nunn and Associates
Fletchers Estates

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A landmark ruling by Hammersmith & Fulham could pave the way for estate agent's boards to be effectively forced out of conservation areas. 

Kirsty Elliott, Planning Enforcement Officer at LBHF, has stated that the council intend 'to apply to the Office of
the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) for a direction under part II (7) of the Town & Country Planning (Control Of Advertisements) Regulations 1992'.

What this obscure wording effectively means is that if the ODPM gives its assent, Estate Agents who wish to erect boards in conservation areas will have to seek planning permission for every single one of them.

In practice, this would mean that there would be no more Estate Agent's boards in these areas as out as the procedure would be far too complicated and costly for the Estate Agents to justify seeking planning permission.

The campaign was started by residents who wanted to see their streets rid of boards which were left up for too long and for non-existent sales/lettings as well as fighting back after altercations with abusive board installers. 

In defence of the Estate Agents, Christine Fox of Faron Sutaria said "The problem, as always, is not bona fide agents' boards but the usual suspects who put boards up whenever and wherever they wish - as flyers to generate interest.  This practice is already illegal and is not something that Faron Sutaria have ever condoned.  For sale boards are an exceptionally useful sales tools - a lot of potential buyers will drive around an area that they are interested in buying in and phone the agents where they see boards."  

Colette Brown of said, "In the utopia in my mind all boards would be banned by mutual consent. Sadly, this is not the case therefore the 'one board per property' which is currently law should be enforced by trading standards. If however the ODPM did agree I would have thought it would be a waste of tax payers money administrating it. I believe that Hammersmith and Fulham should be working with agents and trading standards hand in hand."

The current legislation states that only one board per property is allowed. If there is more than one agent selling the property then their details should be displayed back to back. A board must be removed within two weeks of the property being sold or let. A recent survey by Trading Standards at Hounslow Council found that one third of all boards in the borough were being displayed illegally.

February 5, 2006