Traders fed up with sign delay

PRINCE street business owners are fed up with the time it's taking council to approve applications for sandwich-board signs, saying it could damage trade.

The owner of Grafton Health Foods, Terry Deefholts, said two Clarence Valley Council staff visited his shop last week asking if he had approval for his sandwich board.

Mr Deefholts claims he was told to remove the sign even after telling the council employees he applied nine months ago for council approval and was still waiting.

“Many Prince Street traders are in the same boat. We're expected to suspend street advertising while the bureaucrats fiddle ad nauseum with our paperwork,” Mr Deefholts said.

“We need to place signage out the front of our businesses to let people know what we sell.”

The council introduced a new mobile signs and articles policy in Maclean, Yamba and Grafton about 18 months ago that, among other things, restricted signs on footpaths.

At the time, council said the policy was necessary for public safety and to meet insurance requirements.

Mr Deefholts said shop owners had a 12-month amnesty in which they could apply to keep the signs, but that had now expired and his application was still in limbo.

He said council should have finalised the applications before enforcing the policy.

Owner of Low Pressure Surf Company and Grafton Chamber of Commerce member Noel Smith is equally as frustrated.

“There has been no consultation. At the end of the day, we're looking at businesses surviving and council should be behind that,” Mr Smith said

A council spokesman said staff had no record of receiving Mr Deefholts' application. He said the applications, once received, did not usually take nine months to process. The spokesman said council was organising a meeting with Prince Street traders to discuss signage and other issues.

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