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Remove abandoned billboards that blight our city

A local Green councillor for Clifton Down in Bristol has successfully applied for an unsightly abandoned billboard on Whiteladies Road to be removed. Her work follows successful campaigns by local communities across Bristol to remove billboards in St Werburghs, St Pauls and Christmas Steps, and continuing work by the campaign group Adblock Bristol to oppose new and existing billboards across the city.

Local groups including the Christmas Steps Arts Quarter, the St Werburghs Neighbourhood Association and St Pauls Planning Group have in recent years identified numerous billboards in the city that were erected without consent, and have successfully requested that the Council’s planning enforcement team serve notice on the owners to remove them. Inspired by these successes, Councillor Denyer applied for the abandoned and broken billboard in her ward overlooking Whiteladies Road to be removed. This week the Council served a discontinuance notice to the owners. Providing that no appeal is lodged, the billboard will be removed later this year.

Councillor Carla Denyer said,

“I am really pleased that the billboard will be coming down soon, it has been a visual blight on the local area for a long time. Large and ubiquitous advertising hoardings like this are bad enough when well-maintained, let alone when they look like this.”

“And it’s not just a matter of spoiling the view – advertising is bad for our wellbeing. Advertising frequently uses tactics that make citizens feel that they are not thin, beautiful, rich or powerful enough, pressuring people into buy things they wouldn’t otherwise want or need, and driving excessive consumption. Worse still, research shows that children are particularly susceptible to advertising, with children under seven less able to recognise the “persuasive intent of commercial appeals” – in other words, less able to tell the difference between information and advertising.”

“So getting this broken billboard removed is a start, but I don’t intend to stop here – Bristol would be a better place without any corporate outdoor advertising. And this is an achievable goal – many cities have already banned such adverts, such as Grenoble in France and São Paulo in Brazil.”

Nicola Round from Adblock Bristol added,

“There is a growing movement against corporate outdoor advertising in Bristol, a movement which reflects the independent and free-thinking identity of our city and shows that people have had enough of unwanted, unavoidable and manipulative advertising on our streets. We agree that Bristol would be happier and healthier without billboards, and removing abandoned ones like this is a great place to start. We have also recently seen the welcome removal of a billboard on Marlborough Street which was found to not have planning permission. These and other local successes are an inspiration to other communities who are fed up with seeing corporate billboards every day and want ad-free, happier neighbourhoods.”

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