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Do I Need Planning Permission For Pavement Signs

Posted By:

XL Displays


05 February 2021

Reading Time:

10 Mins

This news article is also featured in:

Advertising BoardsOutdoor DisplaysPavement Signs

Do I Need Planning Permission For Pavement Signs

Introducing pavement, a-frame or forecourt signs outside your business can be a great way to draw in new customers, advertise special offers or educate clients on new menus, products or treatments. In addition, as we navigate the ever-changing rules and regulations during the Coronavirus pandemic, putting up pavement signs to inform customers of new social distancing measures, indicate sanitising stations or remind them to wear a mask in your premises can be a key way to keep your staff and customers safe during these challenging times.

The first thing you need to consider when planning a pavement sign installation is which kind of sign will suit your business best. There are different styles of pavement sign to choose from:

  • A-Frame Signs - classic and easy to install, a-frame signs are available with pre-printed vinyl graphics or poster pockets for laminated displays.
  • Chalkboard A-Frame Signs - these have a traditional look and feel and are ideal for hospitality venues, as they can be wiped clean and re-written regularly to reflect changing menus or specials.
  • Water-Based Signs - the most sturdy and durable kind of pavement sign, ideal for street retail or forecourts. The base can be filled with sand or water for stability.
  • Swing Signs - available with pre-printed vinyl graphic panels or poster pockets, these signs swing in the breeze for a simple yet effective display.
  • Flex Signs - the pre-printed vinyl graphic panels flex back and forth in the wind for a sturdy and durable design.
  • Flag Banners - these printed flags flutter in the breeze for an eye-catching display, ideal for events, exhibitions and large showrooms.

Once you’ve chosen your preferred pavement sign, speak to our expert Graphic Design Team about printing the perfect marketing displays to advertise your business.

Swinging Pavement Sign

So, you’ve picked your pavement sign and designed your branded messaging display. What’s next? 

Before you set up your new pavement sign, familiarising yourself with the rules and regulations around where you can and cannot install them, and whether you need planning permission for particular signs, is essential. The current regulations around pavement signs are formalised and monitored by each individual UK council. We’ve put together a guide* to the most common rules and regulations about what you can and cannot do with your new pavement signs; however, if you want specific information about your location, you should visit your local council website or contact their planning teams. 

Exceptions to that rule are:

  • if your location is in any National Park or equivalent area, you must contact the relevant authority for that land
  • if your location is in an urban development zone, you should contact the Urban Development Corporation for that area.

If you are planning to place your display board sign on privately owned or rented land, such as a garage forecourt, restaurant terrace or the enclosed area in front of a shop, in most instances there is deemed consent and therefore you should not require any planning permission to set up your sign. However, if your sign is illuminated, it may be subject to additional approvals, so it’s best to confirm with your local authority.

If you wish to set up your sign along a public highway, for example at a roadside or on a pavement, you will need to seek permission from your local authority (or the governing body which manages the site). To find out who you need to apply to, you can use this tool.

In assessing your request, councils may consider the following issues:

  • Obstruction & Distraction - will your board inconvenience or endanger pedestrians, particularly wheelchair users or the visually impaired? Will it distract drivers?
  • Security - is there a risk that your sign may blow into the road and injure pedestrians or disrupt traffic?
  • Impact - will your sign have a negative visual impact on the area? (This is particularly relevant if it is a conservation area or in front of a listed building).
  • Condition - is your sign safe and well maintained? (eg. is it safely chained or fixed in place).
  • Content - in some circumstances, the local authority will only permit information signs, and any promotional materials will be deemed inappropriate.

There are some general guidelines about putting up a sign on the pavement in front of your premises, for example:

  • Many councils permit only 1 sign per premises (even if two businesses share the space).
  • Signs must not be installed within 2m of another pavement sign, pillar or tactile paving (eg. raised or marked slabs for the visually impaired), or within 2m of a bus stop or pedestrian crossing.
  • Signs must not block access to any building exits, especially emergency exits.
  • Signs cannot be placed more than 0.8m from the front of your building, and are only permitted where they leave at least 1.8m of space for pedestrians to pass. 
  • There may be limits on display size (for example, no larger than 1200mm high and 750mm wide). 
  • You cannot attach any accessories to your signs (eg. lighting, sanitising stations) without additional permissions.
  • Signs can only be put up during trading hours and must be stored inside when your business is closed.

The exact specifications of these requirements may vary from place to place in different circumstances, so check with your local authority for the details specific to your area.

Remember, even if you are granted permission to install a pavement sign, all outdoor advertisements must comply with five ‘standard conditions’. 

They must:

  • Be kept clean and tidy
  • Be kept in a safe condition
  • Have the permission of the owner of the site on which they are displayed (this includes the Highway Authority if the sign is to be placed on highway land)
  • Not obscure, or hinder the interpretation of official road, rail, waterway or aircraft signs
  • Be removed where so required by the planning authority.

SUREFLEX Pavement Advertising Signboards

Finally, before you put up your pavement sign, you should ensure you have public liability indemnity insurance (usually to the tune of £5million) in place. This is designed to cover you if anyone suffers an injury or accident that’s been caused by your sign or board, for example, tripping over it, trapping their fingers in it, having it fall on them. Your local council may, in fact, require you to prove that you have taken out such cover before they will grant permission for you to put up the sign.

A word of caution; in circumstances under which a pedestrian has been injured by a pavement sign (even through their own actions, ie. trying to tamper with or move your sign), councils have a responsibility to protect the individual. This is why public liability indemnity insurance is so important to safeguard your business.

For a more detailed breakdown of advertising planning permissions, you can see the UK Government Guide for Advertisers - or visit your local council website for similar documentation that’s bespoke to your location. As always, our team of experts are happy to help if you have any specific questions related to our range of pavement sign products. You can get in touch with our team via our Contact Us page or on 01733 511030.

*This guide has been put together by XL Displays based on research and to the best of our knowledge, however, it is a GUIDE only. For up-to-date information and rules you must seek advice from your local authority.