Crouch End no place to be board

THE scourge of multiple estate agent boards has been removed from Crouch End after local councillors claimed they sent out the wrong message.

Liberal Democrat councillors asked Haringey to take enforcement action against estate agents who were leaving scores of unnecessary and excessive boards around the community, saying it made the area look run down. And as a result, more than 30 have been removed.

There are a number of restrictions on estate agent signs. To start with, boards should not be left up for more then two weeks after a property is let or sold. Also, there should be no more than one per property.

Anyone breaking those rules can face enforcement action by the council – something which Haringey has reminded estate agents will certainly happen if they do not abide by the rules. Most of the offending signs have now been removed voluntarily by estate agents.

Crouch End councillor Lyn Weber said: “I was concerned that the sheer number of estate agent boards in the main shopping streets in Crouch End was sending the wrong message to local shoppers.

“Crouch End is a fantastic, bustling and popular shopping area and the amount of unauthorised signs advertising vacant shops needed tackling.”

Five years ago the Heath and Hampstead Society took stronger action by banning the boards altogether. Society member Gordon Maclean said: “We just got fed up with the streets being marred by hundreds of boards and we felt this was not right in our conservation area.”

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However, for now, Cllr Weber says she is pleased with the results of the action the council’s enforcement team has taken.

“It has been hugely successful and I would imagine they might extend it to other areas as well,” she said. “It’s so much better now there’s less clutter on the walls – it totally changes the landscape and shows Crouch End is open for business.”

Speaking about the early spring clean, fellow councillor Paul Strang added: “Having dozens of these boards littering the streetscape gives the area a feel of being run down.

“Having them taken away really brings a freshness to the town centre. However, I’m sure more will appear so we’ll keep on the case and have unnecessary and illegal ones removed.”

However, trader Michael Plastiris, who runs Broadway Fruiterers was more ambivalent about the scheme. He said: “I think it’s possibly a good idea – I guess it gives a negative impression as it looks like people are moving out. But then if the signs are saying sold, it shows lots of people are prepared to move in.”