Businesses across the city will now have to apply for a licence to have a sandwich board outside their premises, under regulations that came into effect yesterday.
Dublin City Council announced some weeks ago that businesses would be required to apply for a licence to have the advertisements outside their premises. From September 1, all businesses with a sandwich board are to pay €630 a year for a licence to keep their boards on the street. If they don’t pay for the licence, then the board must be removed.
This is under section 254 of the Planning & Development Act 2000, which provides for a licencing system for advertising structures on public roads and footpaths.
Across the capital, several small businesses have voiced their anger with the decision to introduce the licence fee, with many cafés and other city-centre-based outlets saying they simply can’t afford to maintain their sandwich boards under the new laws.
In an additional block, DCC have also said that sandwich boards – also known as A-boards – will not be permitted in any of the 23 Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs) of the city centre. Areas deemed ACAs include Chapelizod, Sandymount, Phibsborough and Ranelagh.
A spokesperson for DCC told Dublin Gazette: “In accordance with the policies and objectives regarding advertising structures and the public realm in the respective ACAs, advertising boards/A-boards should not be permitted on the public realm in ACAs as they would lead to visual clutter and detract from the quality and setting of the Architectural Conservation Area.”
Under the new licencing laws, DCC say that if there are two or more businesses in one premises in an ACA that want to use a sandwich board to promote their services, that they should share the one sign.
“Excluding the O’Connell Street ACA and the Grafton Street & Environs/South City Retail Quarter ACAs, consideration may be given to an A-board only for a basement or upper floor commercial use which does not already have any other advertising signage/structure/feature.
“Where there are two or more such uses, they should share advertising on one A-board,” a spokesperson detailed.
The Disability Federation of Ireland welcomed the move to reduce the level of on-street signage, saying that the likes of sandwich boards on pavements make it difficult to those with disabilities to go about their day.
In a statement, DFI said: “We welcome this important move towards keeping the paths clear for people with disabilities. As the lead organisation in the annual Make Way Day on September 26, we have highlighted the wide range of obstacles that clutter our streets and stop people with disabilities from going about their business.
“We would point to Cashel in Co. Tipperary, which was awarded a Gold Star for accessibility in 2006. As part of the accessibility audit billboards were moved off pavements and businesses instead put their signs and blackboards on their outside walls. This has set an example we could all follow.
“Most people will have felt mild irritation as having to dodge parked cars, bins, illegally parked bicycles as they navigate the city streets, but these things can be life threatening for people with disabilities. Pavements are first and foremost for the public and that has to include people with disabilities.”