"The End of the World is Nigh" for sandwich boards in London's West End
mchawk | July 11, 2008 at 02:05 pmby
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Westminster City Council will use new legislation to remove sandwich boards and advertising placards permanently from the streets next month. Under the new laws, sandwich-board men and the companies they advertise face fines of up to £2,500 if they fail to comply with the ban.
On any given day, more than 100 portable signs are carried through London’s leading shopping streets. The workers who wield them are often paid as little as £4 an hour to stand for up to ten hours promoting anything from sports sales to restaurants and language schools.
Charity fundraisers and religious preachers, familiar sights around Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets, will be confined to designated areas.Daniel Astaire, a Westminster councillor, said that “cheap and ugly” signs were blighting areas such as Oxford Street and Covent Garden. “This is a world-class city, not a junk yard. No one wants to fight their way past neon-coloured makeshift signs.”
The change is part of a £10 million plan, spearheaded by New West End Company, a retailer association, to improve the ambience of the shopping district. Other moves include improving access for pedestrians, creating open spaces away from shops, reducing crime and providing better street lighting. Richard Dickinson, the association’s chief executive, said that a “zero-tolerance” strategy towards advertising placards was a necessary measure to compete with sophisticated shopping districts abroad.
For the more human side to the story, read reporter Fiona Hamilton's story: Sandwich-board advertising is no easy job.
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