Calls go out for rethink on poster policy in Borders

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson is calling for a crackdown on flyposting.
Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson is calling for a crackdown on flyposting.

Scottish Borders Council is being urged to rethink its policy on publicity posters amid claims it is not giving cultural events a fair crack of the whip.

The current policy is that posters advertising events such as Denholm Folk Festival can only be displayed a week before they take place and are then taken down by council staff.

However, at a meeting of the council’s Teviot and Liddesdale area locality committee last week, members called for a rethink to try to attract more visitors to the region.

Hobkirk Community Council’s Clive Griffiths said: “One of our members was helping with the arrangements for Denholm Folk Festival and put a banner up in Hawick to advertise it, and it was removed.

“The council’s policy is that banners can only be up a week before an event and are then removed.

“Denholm Folk Festival has been a long-standing feature of the Borders and attracts lots of people from outside the area, including regularly people from Norway and Hungary. It’s quite a high-profile event, and it seems to me that if the council has a rule that says that, then the rule needs to be changed.

“I think we need to give a decent break to people who are organising things like that, such as walking festivals. All these things bring visitors and vibrancy to the area, and to have a relatively petty rule like that seems inappropriate.”

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer agreed that the policy needs revisiting, adding: “I remember two years ago we were going to have a new strategy, and for whatever reason that never happened.”

Tougher action should be taken against illegal flyposting, however, according to fellow ward councillor Davie Paterson.

“With regards to publicity signs on empty shops, I have been banging on about this problem for years, but unfortunately the council has no powers to remove signs, so I am informed by officers,” he said.

“What we have agreed is that when we have organisations coming, they would have to agree to remove all their publicity material wherever they display their signage.

“If they refuse to do this we, as Hawick common good fund trustees, could look if they should be allowed on common land again.”