The A-Board and highway obstruction ban came into effect on 1 January 2016 despite the fact that Bradford MDC gave no notice. Traders should be receiving a letter about this today or later this week. A-Boards will not be allowed anywhere in the retail area of Ilkley and after an initial warning will be removed and can only be reclaimed on payment of a £200 fee. The letter from BMDC contains more details.

The Parish Council, faced with a fait accompli, was unable to make any representations about this (it was never consulted beforehand). This ban is the result of persistent lobbying by disability groups both nationally and locally over a number of years. If you look at the RNIB website you will see the high degree of passion which this subject generates.

The Parish Council wants to find ways to support businesses who suffer as a result and have asked for the business community to come forward with ideas of things which could be done eg maps, finger posts, other forms of street advertising.

We can discuss this at the IBF meeting next week (13 January at 5.45 at the Clarke Foley Centre) and we should be in a position to put forward ideas at the next Parish Council meeting on Monday 1 February at 7.30 at the Town Hall.

We really need a local retail champion or someone else who is badly affected by the ban to take the lead on this and anyone who is willing to take on this role should contact me as soon as possible.

I would like to pay tribute to Ilkley Dress Agency, Nora’s, Ashworth & Tennant, The Little Tea House, Emporia Italia, Cafe J and Bistro Saigon for working together to gather a petition of 549 signatures.