Council Snatch Squads, Ransom Demanded

Image: Cambridge County Council

Tuesday saw the East Highways Division of Cambridgeshire County Council sanction a snatch squad to enter the City Centre and forcibly remove, without warning, the street advertising boards of Ely’s independent traders and then demand a ransom of £20 per board for their safe return, it is believed the boards are being held somewhere in Witchford.

One trader who wished to remain anonymous, for fear of reprisal said: ‘I have had so many people coming into my shop saying they wouldn’t have known it was here unless they had seen the advertising board’

The CCC defended the move saying it gave traders plenty of warning and is meeting a Government directive given to every local authority across the country to destroy any hope independent traders have of making their business a success.

A spokesman for the CCC, admitted the order was given to retaliate against the activists, seen – by many – as martyrs in a City that does very little to promote independent traders.

However, the authorinazi stated: ‘We really do want to see businesses do well and urge anybody who wants to advertise to contact his or her local planning authority for advice about how to do this legally.’

When pushed on how ‘legal’ signs were safer the spokesman declined to comment.

He continued: ‘Every year we receive phone calls from people who have tripped or walked into signs put out on footways illegally and the CCC has a duty to ensure footways are kept safe for pedestrians. Illegal signs are a safety issue as they create hazards and distract drivers and can cause confusion’.
When pushed on how legal signs were safer the spokesman declined to comment.

Despite heightend tensions between the independent traders and the CCC it is hoped an agreement will be reached soon that will benefit all involved.

5 replies
  1. Yvonne Rautenbach
    Yvonne Rautenbach says:

    Has the cafe in the Butter Market bought the area? I am asking because they are now using all of one side of the gangway and leaving only a couple of feet for passersby who may have bikes and double buggies to push. Single file traffic is not acceptable on busy days.

  2. Stuart Wells
    Stuart Wells says:

    What a bunch of idiots Cambridgeshire County Council are.

    Has anyone walked down High Street recently? There is barely room to walk because most of the cars overun their parking bay onto the pavements.

    So instead of dealing with the greater problem they nit-pick over a few signs that are not really doing any damage.

    Has anyone been in contact over the car-parking issue?

  3. William Cade
    William Cade says:

    Nice take on the story!

    I was in Ely yesterday walking down Market Street and Brands pet/garden shop took over half the pavement with bedding plants and just a little further up was the Hereward pub that had 2 massive advetising boards. Are these legal?

    Interesting that illegal signs are less safe than illegal ones, surely any sign is a potential distraction and that includes road signs!

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