BUCHAN councillors will today be asked to endorse the introduction of a new council policy to deal with applications for attachments to street lighting columns.
The move follows serious damage to columns in the past when unsuitable attachments have been made without permission.
In a report to go before today’s meeting, the council’s director of infrastructure, Stephen Archers, says the use of street lighting columns to attach banners, bunting and hanging baskets has been increasing.
“Street lighting columns may not be suitable for additional attachments so if damage to columns is to be avoided is is important that there are no unauthorised attachments and that each application is vetted by the council before permission is issued,” he says.
“Currently there is no charge for an application, however if the council were used as an installation contractor or designer a charge may be levied.
“A clear formal policy and application process would be of assistance, both to applicants and to council staff and would help to ensure that applications were dealt with in a consistent and effective manner,” he says.
Mr Archer says the use of unauthorised signs and banners may also create a potential traffic hazard as they are often sited in locations that could obstruct visibility or cause drivers to be distracted.
“It is proposed that the new policy would be complementary to this existing policy and would deal with the issues specific to lighting columns.”
Councillors will be given a number of draft guidelines which will ensure that requests are dealt with in a concise and considered way.
Banners advertising community events, public information notices or, in certain circumstances, national events, will be considered. Typical examples would be a local gala or sporting event.
Commercial advertisements will not be permitted.
Banners may be erected up to 30 days prior to an event and shall be removed within seven days following the event.
Generally, locations for these features will be restricted to main streets in towns and village centres or in the immediate vicinity of an event location.
Bunting may be strung to run parallel with the carriageway, between columns, so long as it does not pass over any public road, non-domestic vehicular access or other area likely to be used by high-sided vehicles.
If the proposed lighting column already carries a sign plate or other piece of furniture, it will not normally be suitable for additional banners, hanging baskets or bunting.
If members accept the policy it will be circulated to community councils to assist in planning future events.
Mr Archer adds: “Staff are currently spending time dealing with an increasing number of problems arising from indiscriminate use of banners and bunting.
“By formalising a policy and applicatin process it will ensure that staff time is more efficiently utilised.”
Members will be asked to give their opinion on the draft policy at their meeting at Arbuthnot House.