More local authorities seek to ban estate agents’ boards

The Government is considering four applications to restrict the display of estate and letting agent boards in certain parts of the UK.

A Freedom of Information request by EYE has found that the Department for Communities and Local Government is currently reviewing four applications from the following councils: Charnwood; Bath and North East Somerset; Leicester; and Swindon. Limits have already been introduced this year in Camden and Wandsworth.

Leeds and Hammersmith & Fulham introduced restrictions last year and in 2014 limits were imposed in Hastings, Preston, Waltham Forest and Newcastle.

Councils can’t just ban agency boards but need to get permission from the Communities Secretary to impose a ‘Regulation 7 direction’ which effectively means agents need planning consent to display boards and can be fined if they put them up without permission.

One council looking to extend existing restrictions on boards is Brighton & Hove.

Brighton introduced limits on boards in 2010 covering defined areas with “good historic architecture, including some of the highest quality, (where) such boards cause significant problems to the historic character of these areas”.

The local authority backed a motion in July from Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth to widen the restrictions and it will be considered by the council’s economic development and culture committee in September.

The council would have to go back to central government to get the area of the ban redefined if they want to extend it.

Cllr Nemeth told EYE: “All that I have really got through full council is confirmation that the existing zone will be extended to include the next similar areas along the remaining dense areas in the city with historic buildings. There is not even a timeframe presently, though I do expect swift action.

“If the same approach to the initial ban is adopted, it would not be retrospective in that ‘for sale’ boards that are already up would be allowed to stay.

“However, compared to six years ago when the original policy was implemented, there is today a much greater proliferation of ‘sold’, ‘let by’ and ‘managed by’ boards. I would push for these to be taken down straightaway as otherwise they could potentially remain in place forever.”

The display of estate agent boards is governed by the control of advertisements regulations, which is separate from planning permission for development.

Boards have “deemed consent” under Schedule 3 of the regulations, meaning they can be displayed without applying to the local planning authority.

Local planning authorities can restrict the display of advertisements with deemed consent, such as estate agents’ boards, through a direction given by the Communities Secretary under regulation 7 of the Regulations.

For a “Regulation 7 direction” to be put in place, a local planning authority must apply to the Secretary of State.

The application must be advertised and any representations received are reviewed by an independent planning inspector. If there are objections, there may be a hearing.

The inspector also undertakes a site visit, following which a report is written to the Secretary of State and a decision is made and the direction may be given – with or without modifications. It may be refused. Once given, a direction must be publicised by the local authority.

A direction doesn’t openly ban the display of a particular type of advertisement, but requires anyone wishing to display such an advertisement in the relevant area to apply for consent.

This enables the council to either refuse the application or impose certain conditions.


Email the story to a friend


  1. LandlordsandLetting

    I did a personal rant about this subject a couple of years ago:

  2. Clarkuk

    I can’t help but feel that the older generations – those who don’t use the internet – are at a huge disadvantage in these areas.  Not being able to see a for sale board could mean them missing out. By putting your house up with an online agent you are likely to get 0 enquiries from anyone in this bracket as who is likely to call   There may be only very few but they are the people with the money in our society.

    1. Woodentop

      I couldn’t agree more but a few out there are convinced everyone is on the internet which is why they have no High Street presence. Blimey the brand awareness for these on-liners will be seething, so from that point of view I’m all in favour. However as you point out there are many a sale that are board related and vice versa. Tenants is the one that really hits a high with boards.


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.