02:10PM, Tuesday 16 November 2021
Site pic of Herbies Pizza on Farnham Road, Slough - Photo: Emma Sheppard 4/11/18
Slough council is looking into permitting large digital billboards on its highways to bring in some cash for the borough.
At a meeting of the cabinet on Monday, councillors discussed the possible locations that could be made available for these signs, with the potential for them to be used for public messaging as well as private sector advertising.
Richard West, Slough’s executive director of customer and community, presented a policy with maps of possible locations for the signs, including around Bath William Street and Salt Hill, Farnham Road North, Ledgers Road, Old Bath Road and Poyle Road.
“It’s important we have a policy and we recognise the limitations of what’s appropriate to go up on the highway, and where,” Mr West said. “This is, we think, a significant income opportunity.”
However, Cllr Natasa Pantelic (Lab & Co-Op, Cippenham Meadows) raised concerns over several of the potential sites for advertising, including one by the Lidl and petrol station on Farnham Road and Northern Road.
“As a resident and a driver around Slough, I can see potential problems,” she said. “I feel some of these (adverts) will be eyesores. Some appear to be quite large.
“I understand there’s income for the council (to be made), but I also think these (sites) pose some risk of distracting drivers on the highway,” she said.
Cllr Swindlehurst gave reassurances that the council was not necessarily seeking to facilitate adverts in these specific locations at the current time.
“We don’t need to do (the planning team’s) job for them – each one of these (site applications) will be sorely tested before being put forward,” he said.
However, Cllr Pantelic remained concerned that having these sites listed in the policy could increase the likelihood of them being used, even where unsuitable.
“I want to assure myself that the proper due diligence (is being done) even in the policy (stage),” she said. “I question whether anyone has been to see these sites.”
She asked if there had been any community consultation yet and the administration confirmed there has so far been none.
Cllr Robert Anderson (Lab & Co-Op, Britwell and Northborough) said he felt that the location of signs mattered for aesthetic reasons rather than safety.
“As a driver, you're responsible for not being distracted – and there are (worse) distractions than a billboard advertising a cheap telly,” he said.
“I’m more concerned about the aesthetics of giant signs. I’d be willing to put aside my personal preferences if it would be a significant income (generator) but not for the sake of a few quid.”
He added that that the signs should preferably be based in locations that are well-kept.
“You can’t have an ultra-modern sign on a road that’s not kept to a high standard – it would look like Blade Runner,” he said.
To see the plans for the potential sites, see the Digital Signage Project appendices on the council meeting documents at tinyurl.com/app/myurls