MP Seeks Stringent New Board Restrictions

Estate Agents Under Fire For Blighting Streets With Self Promotion

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A clampdown on estate agent boards may have cleared the forest of for sale signs that once blighted local streets but it’s not enough for Margaret Hodge MP.

The culture minister is proposing stringent new restrictions on the signs themselves branding them unsightly and claiming they are used to advertise the agent rather than to market the property for sale.

The new rules would restrict the size of the estate agent's name and logo which can often monopolize the majority of the sign.

The regulations would also prohibit boards erected to advertise an estate agent’s sponsorship of local events resulting in a significant loss of funds for schools and charities.

Ms Hodge told the Evening Standard, she could see “no reason at all” for agents to put up 'sold by' or 'let by' notices. “We all care about how things look. Better regulation of these eyesores by local councils is long overdue.”

Hammersmith & Fulham Council launched a blitz on estate agent signs following complaints from residents and an inspection by council officials that revealed more than 300 estate boards on display in a small area and, in one instance, nine boards being displayed on just one property. The council insisted that agents apply for planning permission to put up signs in conservation areas. As yet none have applied.

Councillor Nick Botterill, H&F cabinet member for environment, said, "Residents have been praising the new ban as it means that their streets have become cleaner and greener. Estate agents also like the new ban as clientele are more likely to buy on clean, uncluttered streets and their competitors are regulated by the same rules they are - so everyone's on a level playing field. The ban is easy to enforce as those living in the street can contact the council if they see a sign and estate agents also report rival signs.

"The six month ban has been so successful there are currently discussions on the next area in need of a facelift. High density residential areas in the borough are at the top of the list but ideally it would be fantastic if the entire borough could become forest-free."

July 19, 2007