Council boss hits out at MP over cost of A-boards in Cannock
A council boss has dubbed a petition launched against a policy regulating A-boards and street furniture outside businesses as ‘hypocritical’.
Cannock Chase Council leader George Adamson faced backlash following the new measures, which mean traders have to pay £85 every three years for A-boards outside their premises.
Constituency MP Amanda Milling started a petition calling for the policy to be scrapped, attracting 1,800 signatures online and thousands more on paper.
But Councillor Adamson says her negativity is ‘hypocritical’. He claimed that she failed to respond to the council’s consultation on the policy in February 2017.
“Our policy is to try and make the highways in our town centres safe, particularly for people who are blind and with disabilities,” he said.
“Some traders abuse it, and there are tables and A-boards everywhere.
“We want to make it safe for disabled people to use, which is in line with government and Staffordshire County Council policy.
"It is a case of we do not want to wait for someone to be injured. It is all about prevention. In Walsall, Wolverhampton, Stoke and, I have been told in Lichfield, if you want tables and chairs outside your shop you have to apply for planning permission.
“There is obviously a lot of controversy, and it has been whipped up by Amanda Milling, which is a bit hypocritical of her as the council did notify her in February 2017 about the policy and she didn’t respond.
“When we brought the policy in last year the Conservative group put forward an amendment to say we should not just do it in Cannock, Hednesford and Rugeley, but they wanted to introduce the policy in every shopping area in the district. But now they say they are totally opposed to the policy.
“There is the Merchant pub in Market Place, Cannock, which is in line with the policy – it looks smart and is safe for people to use.”
Ms Milling said: “When George Adamson introduced his new charges on town centre businesses, my office was flooded with complaints from angry residents and small businesses up in arms.
“As a result, I launched the petition to demonstrate just how unpopular and anti-business his charges are. Launching the petition was the right thing to do because it provided a chance for people to make their views heard publicly.
“I am proud to have launched the petition and champion the voice of thousands of local people and the small independent businesses in our town centres.
“They are all opposed to George Adamson’s new charges and it is surprising that he has taken a position so at odds with all these people.“