Writing is on the wall for billboards

Unlawful advertising hoardings bolted to the sides of buildings and walls create an ugly environmental hazard. Wandsworth council is now clamping down on advertising companies that attempt to get away with using open spaces without permission

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JC Decaux UK, part of Europe’s largest outdoor advertising company, has been fined and ordered to pay costs of £4,615 for putting up an illuminated hoarding, measuring 28 square metres, which was bolted to the side of a building facing Garratt Lane in Wandsworth.

Record fine

The council’s planning department prosecuted JC Decaux for breaching the Town and Country Planning Act and the magistrates found the company guilty.

Only two months ago JC Decaux had to pay a record fine of more than £39,000 after the council prosecuted it for 14 offences, including displaying a billboard on a listed building.

When the Garratt Lane hoarding was removed, it damaged the building, leaving large holes in the wall underneath, which were likely to result in both damp and water penetration, it is claimed.

Wandsworth planning chief Guy Senior said: “This company appears to pay absolutely no heed to planning laws and goes around erecting gigantic billboards and hoardings without ever bothering to apply for consent. I hope they now get the message that we will not hesitate to prosecute.

“These large adverts can fall off, with tragic consequences for pedestrians and motorists.”

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