BUSINESSES in Newquay town centre are angry after the council allegedly threatened to confiscate their advertising boards unless they are removed.

Shops including Loafers, Morris Pasties and Photo Lab in Central Square were “livid” when a Cornwall Council officer visited their premises and gave the ultimatum.

Shop owners say the advertising signs are vital to their businesses to attract people in, but the unitary authority stated it is important that footways and pedestrian areas are kept “reasonably” clear, particularly during the summer period.

The businesses also argue that it is not fair banning A board outside their shops when they pay business rates to the council if street traders and buskers who pay none can pitch up along the pedestrianised high street and cause an obstruction.

Shopkeepers say despite the narrower pavements in Central Square they claim there is still enough room for disabled people to get past with an A board outside their premises.

The A boards outside Loafers and Morris Pasties (Picture: Warren Wilkins) ( )

Martin Lenton from Loafers Sandwich Bar said: “I’m livid. The council officer said my A board would be confiscated and put in the back of his truck if it’s there the next time they are around.

“How am I supposed to advertise my menu if I’m not allowed an A board.

“I’ve been here for 20 years and if I cannot put an A board out, I’ve had it.

“We’ve got eight weeks in the summer to try and make some money to see us through the winter.

“The problem for me is there is a henna tattooist, and they pay no rent or business rates and can pitch up at the best spot on the high street and no one can see us.”

Josh Griffiths from Newquay Photo Lab added: “We are really disappointed because many people do not realise, we are here as the business is on the first floor.

“We’ve now put the A board in the doorway as we don’t want it to be confiscated.”

Sam Hunter from Morris Pasties said: “The shop has been here since 1971and we’ve always had an A board out the front since the beginning.

“It’s never caused any issue for people walking past. It just advertises our pasties.

“The council has come around on July 1 and have given us no warning. They could have said we can have the A boards out at a certain time of the year and or we could have made other arrangements if they had given us prior warning such as an advertisement for the window.”

Mark Warren, the Newquay BID manager, believes A boards should be permitted as long as they are not blocking public walkways or highways.

Mark said: “Personally, I think A boards should be allowed within reason as long as they are not blocking the public walkways or highways, some businesses have multiple A boards and that’s seems to have drawn attention to Cornwall Council. It was the same when I worked in Truro every now and then Cornwall Council would take action.

“I believe Cornwall Council enforcement needs to be more focused on street traders and buskers in Newquay following the correct guidelines and putting in patrols around the August peak to manage this including around then Boardmasters week.”

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council, said: “The council has a duty to ensure pedestrians and drivers can safely use the public highway.

“Following an inspection, there have been concerns about signs causing an obstruction and shopkeepers have been asked to remove or relocate signs as appropriate.

“While we can understand traders’ frustration, it is important that footways and pedestrian areas are kept reasonably clear, particularly during the summer period when there is greater footfall and an increased risk of obstruction.”