Groups hit out at sign removal
PETERSFIELD theatre groups have accused councils of a philistine attitude after a joint undercover blitz on roadside advertising boards and posters.
Winton Players, Lion and Unicorn Players, Petersfield Theatre Group, and Petersfield Youth Theatre fear the loss of advertising could affect their income, leaving them unable to fund popular productions in future.
Winton Players chairman John Whitaker said: “The boards were taken down without any notification – we didn’t have a clue who did it at the time.
“It costs a lot to put on these shows and its often touch and go if we break even. If we can’t advertise by roadside board and poster, then we won’t sell so many tickets. Shows may then lose money, which may put future productions at risk and Petersfield could lose out.”
It appears the Hampshire County Council clampdown was carried out by East Hampshire District Council officers, who at the same time as taking down boards at Durford Road crossroads, Bell Hill roundabout and oppsite Frenchmans Road, tore down advertising posters.
Health and Safety regulations were cited as the reason for the removal of the roadside boards, even though they have gone up in the same places, three times a year, for 22 years, without incident, said Mr Whitaker.
He said: “The county council apologised on Monday that they had taken the boards down without telling us.
“But they said under health and safety guidelines they couldn’t go back up in case we puncture gas, water or electric mains knocking the stakes in, and they also said vandals might pull them up and throw them at passing cars....”
Jane Ace of Petersfield Youth Theatre said: “We were told we couldn’t put up posters any more and needed £10m public liability insurance plus a licence for our boards.
“I do hope this is a short lived campaign by the councils, as local theatre groups can’t survive without roadside publicity.”
Arts groups and others that advertise by board and poster say as they can’t any more, the town, district and county councils, should provide alternative methods to do so, such as a big TV screen in the front window of Petersfield Library.
Although admitting their involvement and given plenty of time, neither council could find anyone available to explain the combined operation.
What do you think? Were your posters or boards removed? Write to the Post, 33 High Street, Petersfield GU32 3JR or e-mail email@example.com
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