Is It Time To Ban The Boards?

Clampdown on estate agent boards sets precedent for other authorities to follow

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Hammersmith & Fulham Council's groundbreaking clampdown on estate agent boards could be extended around other parts of the borough setting a precedent for other local authorities to follow.

The news comes after estate agents backed the move at summit called by the council in late November.

Representatives of the ten leading estate agencies were at the meeting - and all were in favour of tougher enforcement action.

In addition, half of the agents wanted a total ban on boards in the borough. Foxtons' Guy Evans said, "The board ban in the Baron's Court and Sinclair Road conservation areas has had a very positive effect on the aesthetics of the area. In turn this has meant higher property prices for residents."

The council launched a blitz on boards in the two conservation areas last year following complaints from residents.

Previously, it was common to see hundreds of boards in the area and up to a dozen boards on a single property. The scheme has been so successful in clearing the forest of for sale signs that the council is now looking for other areas to target.

Councillor Nicholas Botterill said, "These boards are a really ugly and primitive way for agents to market properties. All the evidence from residents and now estate agents proves that when you ban these boards you are not only removing an eyesore but you are enhancing the value of your property. Given the tremendous success of the two pilot areas we are now looking at ways to extend this popular scheme elsewhere in the borough."

Earlier this year Margaret Hodge MP proposed stringent new restrictions on boards branding them unsightly. She claimed the board are used to advertise the agent rather than to market the property for sale stating that "better regulation of these eyesores by local councils is long overdue.”

Her proposed new rules included the restriction of the size of the estate agent's name and logo which she believed often monopolizes the majority of the sign. Her regulations would also prohibit boards being erected to advertise an estate agent’s sponsorship of local events resulting in a significant loss of funds for schools and charities.

November 28, 2007