TOUGH new measures are planned to clamp down on "unsightly" advertising boards in the town centre .
Proposals, which are due to get the go ahead from Croydon Council's cabinet on Monday, will limit shops to one A-type advertising board outside and introduce a complete ban on using people with hand-held placards to promote their business.
For the first time, businesses will also be required to pay for a licence to display an A board, working out at £335 for five years.
Councillor Simon Hoar, the council's cabinet member for community safety and public protection, said the authority was responding to overtures made by the Croydon Business Improvement District, which represents major town centre businesses.
The council surveyed the town centre and found 160 A boards, with a huge number in George Street and at the junction of North End and Crown Hill – a favourite for placard holders.
Cllr Hoar said: "They make the town centre look a complete mess and they can be dangerous to people walking along the streets, particularly those with visual impairments."
Matthew Sims, chief executive of the BID, said: "We are very keen to see this go through.
"I think it is important for the town centre to look as attractive as possible and the number of advertising boards which are on display does not give Croydon the look and feel we are aspiring to.
"We want to improve the perception and image of the town.
"Visitors walking down North End do not want to be confronted with advertising boards and people holding placards."
The report being presented to the cabinet on Monday says the size of all advertising boards will in future be restricted to just under 3ft 9in high and 2ft 7in wide.
The report says: "This will remove many of the current advertisements that are very large and take up a lot of the footways and constitute a health and safety risk."
The area affected by the restrictions will cover North End, George Street, part of the High Street, including its junction with St George's Walk, Surrey Street, Church Street and Tamworth Road.
The report also claims consultations held with businesses during April and May resulted in only three responses, with just one formal objection from the owner of 101 Records in Keeley Road, who claimed attracting customers would be harder.