Council Fails To Act on Pavement Blocking Advertising Board

Placed ads on JC Decaux display despite it being in breach

Obstructive board next to 426 Chiswick High Road

A digital advertising display placed in the middle of the pavement on Chiswick High Road remains in place despite being in breach of the conditions on which was approved.

The structure outside 426 Chiswick High Road was installed by multinational advertising company JC Decaux after it received permission (ref: 00248/O/S426/AD2) to replace an existing sign at that location with the new board installed in 2019.

The original board was by the side of the pavement next to the tree but its replacement was positioned some distance away leaving limited space for pedestrians either side. We could find no location map with the application documentation but the officer’s report suggests that it was assumed the same location would be used. JC Decaux did not supply any details of permission being given for a different location for the board when we raised this with them.

Since the beginning of the pandemic more concerns have been expressed about the way the sign makes social distancing difficult at this location. The situation has been made worse after hoardings were put up around the building work relating to the Empire House project which has further limited the pavement space.

Local ward councillor Jo Biddolph contacted the borough planning department about the board and was told that, although JC Decaux had been formally notified that the sign was in breach of the conditions on which was given permission, it was not intended to take further action.

The location of the previous board placed by JC Decaux
The location of the previous board placed by JC Decaux. Picture: Google Streetview

Obstructive board next to 426 Chiswick High Road
The replacement board is some distance away from the original site

A condition under which approval was granted for this board stated, ‘No advertisement shall be sited or displayed so as to- (a) endanger persons using any public highway.’ As Hounslow Council have recently taken measure to increase pavement space in Chiswick, there appears to be an inconsistency in its policy.

Cllr Biddolph said, “importantly, it is hindering social distancing. We are supposed to make walking on pavements easier. This installation runs counter to that. It appears to be three times larger than a board that JC Decaux was allowed to have by default - because there was something on the High Road before that. That runs counter to planning which allows a decision not to replace advertising just because there was something there before."

She also says there is an appearance of ‘one rule for one, a different rule for another’ with applications for similar advertising boards by BT’s InLink rejected.

A local resident who raised the issue of the board with us said, “I spent some time watching the ads on the obstructive board on Chiswick High Road and about a quarter of them were for the council and council associated bodies. One, ironically was for Lampton Leisure urging you to join gyms that have been closed for months. I don’t know how much money they are spending on this but it is clearly an endorsement of the positioning of the board which any rational person would agree presents a risk to public health. It’s an appalling example for the council to set.”

After we contacted them about the board, JC Decaux said they would speak to the council about the issue.

The council did not respond to our request for comment on this matter.

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December 20, 2020