Cabinet agree to replace ‘A-Board’ policy with Charter

Published: 18 October 2019

The Commercial Use of the Highway Policy was adopted by full Council in October 2017, and aimed to ensure that businesses in our town centres used the highway safely and legally, ensuring that obstructions did not cause danger to users of the highway, particularly those with visual impairment or mobility difficulties. The Policy also required that the business had public liability insurance in place to cover claims should anyone suffer an injury. Many traders complied with the policy but others did not.

To ensure businesses complied with the policy Cannock Chase Council needed the support of Staffordshire County Council, which is responsible for highway safety. This support was not received, despite the County Council initially giving its backing to the policy, and means that key elements are unable to be enforced.

The report highlighted four options for Cabinet to consider including retaining the policy with a revised fee structure. However, Cabinet in consultation with colleagues from the Green Party, have chosen to replace the policy with a new Charter, giving businesses clear guidelines on how to safely display items on the highway and explaining their public liability position.

Councillor Christine Martin, Portfolio Leader for Health and Wellbeing said “Cabinet have carefully considered the findings of the review of the policy by Council officers. The options have been discussed and we have decided to recommend to Council that the policy is replaced with a Charter. The Charter will set out clear guidelines so that businesses can use the highway in a way which does not cause any danger to other highway users, particularly those with a visual impairment or mobility difficulty. Cabinet has also asked officers to examine how DBS checks for fairground ride operators can be retained. All traders that have paid for permits under the Commercial Use of the Highway Policy will receive a full refund.”

Councillor Paul Woodhead, Leader of the Green Party Group said “This is a policy area where the Green and Labour Parties had a clear difference and we have been working as colleagues since May to create a solution which addressed the health and safety concerns of too much street furniture and to support our local business owners in creating a vibrant street scene in our town centres. This is a clear demonstration of what constructive dialogue can achieve when working together for the benefit of our communities.”

The recommendations of Cabinet will now be presented to Full Council on 6 November 2019.