Traffic and other signs
In Cheshire East there are:
- Over 4,000 illuminated signs and bollards
All signs, whether temporary or permanent, require the approval of the Council as the Highway Authority.
Town and Parish Councils or voluntary groups who wish to use temporary signs to sporting and other events should contact:
Automobile Association Signs
Tel: 01925 837983
Traffic Management Services
Tel: 01777 705053
Tel: Chris Murphy 07891 520784
We try to keep all signs legible and visible. All signs are reflective but there is a legal requirement to illuminate some in areas of street lighting.
Illuminated signs and bollards are checked regularly and are also cleaned and replaced whenever necessary.
Town and Parish Councils may purchase signs for villages and parishes. These are erected on the edge of the village, which may not be on the actual Town or Parish boundary.
Road safety messages can be incorporated into the signs. Once installed the signs belong to the Town or Parish Council.
Maintenance will be carried out by the Highways Service unless signs need to be replaced, in which case the Town or Parish will need to pay. Signs need to have an expected life of at least 10 years, to comply with British Standards. Theft and damage by vehicles and vandals can be covered by insurance. A typical sign costs about £400.
The operators of tourist attractions meeting certain criteria can pay for white-on-brown tourism signs to be erected by Cheshire East Council. Application forms and further information are available from the highways licences and permits pages.
The only signs that should be placed on the highway are temporary and permanent road signs which contribute to road safety, provide users with relevant information or assist the flow of traffic. Town and parish councils, utility companies and Cheshire East Council in its role as highway authority are the only body that has a legal right to place signs in the highway. All other signs are, by default, unauthorised and strictly speaking should be removed.
If the authority adopted a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to ensure that the entire highway network in East Cheshire was kept free of unauthorised signs, it would place an inordinate demand on Cheshire East Council officers’ time and have a highly detrimental knock-on affect on the other work undertaken by the Highway Service.
‘A’ boards and other signs placed by business proprietors on the highway have been part of the street scene for many years. This is common-place and widespread but the ad-hoc placing of signs can cause difficulties and hazards for some users, particularly for those with impaired vision, mobility problems or young children.
Cheshire East Council balances the needs and rights of these groups with the the wider community to create a culture which encourages businesses to flourish.
Cheshire East Council has adopted a pragmatic approach. We are prepared to permit non-highway related signs – such as ‘A’ Boards advertising adjacent businesses - to be placed on the highway without the need for the owner to obtain a licence on the condition that they meet a series of guidelines. We would not permit signs to be placed on the highway if they created a significant hazard to road users, restricted or blocked drivers sightlines or reduced the width of a footway to such an extent that it became difficult or impossible for pedestrians to pass freely along it.
It is recognised that the siting of ‘A’ Boards in some areas – such as busy pedestrianised areas – or at certain times might be inappropriate or create significant hazards for highway users. In such cases, Cheshire East Council would ask the owners of the signs to remove or relocate them to a more appropriate position. The Highway Service will be able to provide you with further advice.
We receive regular complaints regarding inconsiderately placed signs and street displays. These complaints are always investigated and action is taken in those circumstances where the complaint is valid.
If an owner of an unauthorised sign is asked by highways officers to remove or relocate it but refuses to do so, Cheshire East Council does have the power to arrange for its immediate removal without any further warning reference to the owner.
Fly-posters attached to street furniture not only act as a distraction to drivers, but they are also unsightly. Cheshire East Council will remove them as soon as is reasonably practicable and without reference to the party who placed them there.
Signs advertising community events
Short term temporary signs and banners to advertise non-profit making events which are organised by voluntary / community groups and which are for the benefit of the wider community can be placed on the highway with the prior agreement of the Highway Service.
Typical examples of activities include Village and Church fetes, town festivals, charity firework displays organised by say, the local Rotary Group, rugby club donkey derbies etc. Details of the signs – including their construction and size - and their proposed locations need to be provided in order for officers to be able to consider the application.
If banners or bunting are to be erected across the highway, then a minimum height clearance is required which is dependent on the location. The normal height clearance required is 5.5m (18ft) but this must always be confirmed with the Highway Service.
The provision of such features must only be undertaken by appropriately trained and experienced contractors and appropriate traffic management measures should be implemented whilst they are erected and taken down.
Normally, all banners, signs, Christmas decorations or greetings should be removed immediately after the event.