COMPANIES based at a Swinton trading hub claim they have been hit with a killer blow by Rotherham Council – after being BANNED from having advertising boards at the front of their businesses.
Traders based in the old Swinton Bridge J&I School were told to take down ALL the fixed boards from the front of the building, which faces busy Rowms Lane.
They say the boards are vital for trade as they give motorists directions to the facility’s entrance – which does not show up properly on some SatNav systems.
The traders say a council representative told them they did not have planning permission for the boards, and that they were distracting passing motorists.
But trade has taken a severe hit since they were forced to remove the boards at the end of February.
Carol Miller, who runs Carol’s Celebration Cakes, said: “It has had a huge effect on my business. It’s got to the point where I’m wondering if I will be able to carry on here.
“It is ridiculous. How are we supposed to let people know we are here when we can’t advertise?
“SatNav takes you off towards another street so we had a board put up giving some directions. But even they have had to go.”
Martin Wall, a director of FireGuard UK, said there were other advertising boards placed across the borough which had NOT been vetoed by the council.
He raged: “It seems like there is one rule for us, and another one for everybody else. I don’t know why we have been targeted.
“An enforcement officer from the planning department came to see us, saying a local councillor had complained about the boards.
“I can’t see how they are a distraction to drivers. You need to let people know you’re here.
“In times like these, businesses are trying to stay afloat, and the council doing this does not help at all.
“How exactly are you supposed to grow as a business when you are being hit with rules such as this?
“I had three ad boards up, which cost a total of £1,500. They aren’t cheap, and now I can’t even use them.”
Belinda Webb, owner of Swinton Blinds, said some customers had even asked if she had gone bust!
She said: “I have had people ringing me up asking if we’re still here. This is the effect it is having on our businesses. We want the council to let us put them back up.”
A council spokeswoman said the planning department was acting on complaints by members of the public about the number of advertising hoardings on the building.
She added: “The planning department was concerned about the proliferation of signs on this gateway into Rotherham.
“While we appreciate that business premises need to advertise we have to get the balance right between advertising a business and the visual amenity of the street scene and the aesthetics of this former church building.”