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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 28/08/2001
Consultation Paper on Telephone Kiosk Glass Advertising



This report sets out information in respect of a Consultation Paper that has been received from the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) in relation to the provision of advertising on telephone kiosks. The Consultation Paper sets out three options for dealing with such advertising and asks for the Local Planning Authority’s view in respect of the favoured option.

This report contains environmental and Community Safety Implications, however, there are no significant resource or “Opportunities for All” implications.
APPENDIX H

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – 28TH AUGUST 2001


Title:
CONSULTATION PAPER ON TELEPHONE KIOSK GLASS ADVERTISING
[Wards Affected: All]


Summary and Purpose

This report sets out information in respect of a Consultation Paper that has been received from the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) in relation to the provision of advertising on telephone kiosks. The Consultation Paper sets out three options for dealing with such advertising and asks for the Local Planning Authority’s view in respect of the favoured option.

This report contains environmental and Community Safety Implications, however, there are no significant resource or “Opportunities for All” implications.


Introduction

1. Telephone kiosk glass advertising is a new phenomenon. Advertisements made of a semi-transparent vinyl are fixed to the inside of the glass of telephone kiosks so they face outwards. They are the same size as the glass panel and may be affixed to one or more sides of the telephone kiosk depending upon the location. It is principally BT pay phones whose kiosks are being used for this form of advertising. The advertising can only take place on the more modern glass telephone kiosk structures and not the old red pay phone kiosks.

2. The issue has arisen of whether this form of advertising benefits from deemed consent under Schedule 3 of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992 or whether the express approval of the Local Planning Authority is required under Part 3 of the Regulations. Neither the current Regulations nor the proposed changes that have been announced by the DTLR addresses telephone kiosk glass advertising.

3. The fact that determines whether kiosk glass advertising benefits from deemed consent is whether a kiosk constitutes a “building” for the purposes of the Regulations. If it does, then such advertising will benefit from deemed consent. Currently, the decision as to whether express consent is necessary is, at least in the first instance, one for individual Local Planning Authorities.

4. The DTLR is of the view that it is desirable to clarify the position. The Consultation Paper puts forward three options for the future handling of telephone kiosk glass advertising. Views in response to the consultation are requested by 28th September 2001.


Considerations

5. A Local Planning Authority has to take into account two factors when deciding when advertisements should be allowed to be displayed. These are amenity and public safety. The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992 defines amenity as “the general characteristics of the locality, including the presence of any feature of historic, architectural, cultural or similar interest”. Public safety includes the safety of any person who may use any road or railway and whether any display of advertisements is likely to obscure or hinder, for example the ready interpretation of any road traffic sign.

Amenity

6. Government advice encourages the promoting of the vibrancy and vitality of urban areas and of improving the quality of the urban environment so that it is attractive and well cared for. It is therefore important that careful consideration is given to changes to the streetscape so as to avoid adding to a sense of clutter and detracting from the quality of the urban environment. Large advertisements can in sensitive locations materially detract from the amenity of an area.

7. Covering one side of the glass of the telephone kiosk with a semi-transparent advertisement also effectively transforms an object which was previously transparent into one that is, to all intents and purposes, opaque. This increases the sense of solidity of the structure, which can have implications for the streetscene.

Community Safety

8. The nature of telephone kiosk glass advertising means that the transparency of the kiosk is lost on at least one side and may be a factor for consideration as part of the Section 17 requirements under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Concerns have been expressed that the advertisements can obscure visibility and present a barrier to the effective CCTV surveillance of criminal activity, such as drug abuse both within and beyond the kiosk. It has also been suggested that users of the boxes could be vulnerable to attack if they cannot see out through the glass. CCTV can also be effective in reducing instances of the theft and vandalism in telephone boxes and it is understood that BT pay phones are co-operating with Police and CCTV providers by resiting or removing any advertisements which are obscuring the view of any cameras.

9. It has also been suggested that telephone kiosk glass advertising could distract drivers as some telephone kiosks are placed close to the edge of the pavement, near the road. Drivers’ views of pedestrians may also be obscured if the transparency of the kiosk is lost. It has been suggested that telephone kiosk glass advertising would not create any additional road safety problems, provided the advertisements are not illuminated.

The Options

10. The DTLR have identified three options for the future control of telephone kiosk glass advertising. These are:-

Option 1

11. This option would enable the advertising to take place in kiosks without the need to apply for express consent, but within a framework which sets out how the arrangements would be expected to operate, including avoiding kiosk advertising entirely in certain areas and consulting Local Planning Authorities before advertisements are displayed elsewhere. If this approach were adopted, the DTLR would propose to amend the Control of Advertisement Regulations to make it clear that this form of advertising benefits from deemed consent, for example, by treating telephone kiosks as a building for the purposes of the Regulations.

12. Local Planning Authorities could still take discontinuance action on a site by site basis if telephone kiosk glass advertising caused amenity or public safety problems in a particular case.

13. This self-regulatory approach has the potential to be more flexible and less resource intensive for the industry and Local Planning Authorities, but, by definition, it would not have statutory backing to ensure compliance with the proposed Code of Practice.

Option 2

14. A possible “halfway house” would be to proceed on the basis of deemed consent for this form of advertising, but to introduce limitations to protect amenity, e.g. through control of the areas in which the advertising may take place. A proposal to advertise in areas where limitations apply would require express consent from the Local Planning Authority.

15. Some possible limitations, which would be set out in the new Regulations, are:-

(i) illumination is not permitted; and

(ii) no such advertisements shall be displayed in a Conservation Area, a national park, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Areas of Special Control of Advertisements or the broads.

Option 3

16. This would be achieved by an amendment to the Advertisement Control Regulations which would exclude telephone kiosks from the legal definition of “building” for the purposes of the Regulations. This would mean that telephone kiosk glass advertisements would not benefit from deemed consent in Class 12 of the Schedule 3 of the Advertisement Regulations.

17. Local Planning Authorities would decide each case on a site by site basis on its merits, taking into account any harm the advertisement may cause to amenity and public safety. Local Planning Authorities would, therefore, be able to ensure that telephone kiosk glass advertising was appropriate to the area.

18. It is pointed out that the requirements to apply for express consent for each telephone kiosk on which an advertisement is intended would have resource implications for Local Planning Authorities, particularly those with a large number of telephone kiosks within their area.

19. Although express consent would have resource implications for Local Planning Authorities, an application charge can be made to cover the costs of administration. This charge is set by the Government.

Officer View

20. In view of the special environmental character of Waverley, which contains extensive rural areas designated as areas of Metropolitan Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, plus a considerable number of Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings. Careful control needs to be exercised over advertising. Telephone kiosk advertising can have a significantly harmful effect on public amenity and, in the majority of cases within Waverley, would be harmful.

21. In view of this, officers consider that the preferred option would be Option 3 which would be to require that an application for express consent be made for each case where advertising is proposed. The adoption of this option would also provide for greater clarity in interpretation of the Regulations.

22. A “fall back” position could be considered whereby such advertisements would benefit from deemed consent, but only with strict limitations (Option 2). It could be that the limitations would apply in the following areas:-

(a) residential areas;

(b) Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty;

(c) Areas of Special Advertisement Control;

(d) Conservation Areas; and

(c) sites within the vicinity of Listed Buildings.

23. The effect of this would be that any advertising within such areas, as set out above, would require express consent from the Local Planning Authority.

Conclusion

24. The officers’ view is that, given the special environmental character of Waverley, it is appropriate to forward to the DTLR the view that telephone kiosk glass advertising should require express consent from the Local Planning Authority. In other words, Option 3 is the option that is recommended be adopted.

Recommendation

That the DTLR be informed that Waverley Borough Council support Option 3 and that all Telephone Kiosk Glass Advertising should require express consent from the Local Planning Authority.

Background Papers (DoP&D)

DTLR Telephone Kiosk Glass Advertising – Consultation Paper


CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Mr B Titmuss Telephone: 01483 869286
E-mail: btitmuss@waverley.gov.uk