Market Street BannersWe are pleased to report that the advertisement consent application by the Market Street Traders (MST) of Hexham was successfully approved at Planning Committee on Wednesday 17th July.

The banners are installed on a dozen or so premises on Market Street and are part of the Trader’s ongoing efforts to promote Market Street and its distinctive independent shops. The bulk of the banners gained Listed Building Consent in 2009 but the application for advertisement consent has been long and drawn out (Ref 12/00565/ADE – Market Street, Hexham).

The County Council had recommended a ‘split decision’ to permit some banners but to have the bulk of them taken down – as County Council Highways had argued that they infringed Highways Guidance due to their proximity to the carriageway. In an impassioned speech, a representative of the MST argued that the risk arising from the fabric banners was negligible and that in their six years of installation they had been without incident. In a close run vote the West Area Planning Committee went against officer recommendation and voted 4 in favour of retention of the banners, with 3 in favour of the officers recommendation, and one abstention. The Civic Society had written in support of the banners and feels that it is critically important to take steps to safeguard and promote our independent traders that are beset on all sides by the pressures of economic down turn, big-box retail and the internet economy.

We congratulate Planning Committee members on their support for the traders in these difficult times and for showing sensible flexibility when faced with national ‘one size fits all’ traffic guidelines.