Why Trevor’s avoiding Honiton High Street

A-boards distracted him.

A proliferation in the number of advertising boards encroaching on pavements in High Street, Honiton, has prompted one man to vow to avoid the town centre.

Retired Switchgear design engineer Trevor Hitchcock, 71, says most of the signs are not necessary and that a reduction in the required minimum unobstructed width of pavements to one-and-a-half metres is “a retrograde step”.

“In a lot of places in High Street, you haven’t got a metre-and-a-half anyway,” he said.

“I think they are an eyesore and driving trade out of the town, rather than bringing it in.

“Two years ago, I decided I wouldn’t walk the High Street if I could possible avoid it.

“A-boards are certainly a downside and, I feel, if shopkeepers made it easier for people to get around they would probably get more trade.”

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Mr Hitchcock took the Midweek Herald on a tour of High Street last Thursday.

On that day, there were 69 A-boards outside business premises and at least a quarter of them were encroaching on the pavement.

At one particular pinch point, goods, not A-boards, left just 0.85 metres of pavement for pedestrians.

Mr Hitchcock says this leaves little room for shoppers with pushchairs or in wheelchairs.

Street furniture, including litter bins and a mail box, also contributed to loss of pavement space.

The Midweek Herald measured the pavement at pinch points and found the width of one section just one metre wide, without obstructions.

Mr Hitchcock stressed: “I don’t have any problem with those traders using their own bit of ground.”

Good examples of careful use of private shop frontages were outside Creature Comforts and C H Baker and Sons.

Referring to A-boards on pavements, Mr Hitchcock said: “I think it has got worse.

“I appreciate shops are finding it difficult, but if they made it more pleasant for shoppers more people would come into town.”

Devon County Council was unable to respond to Mr Hitchcock’s criticisms in time for The Herald’s deadline.

The authority is responsible for maintaining pavements and ensuring they are kept safe.

What do you think? Are there too many A-boards in High Street or is Mr Hitchcock wrong?

Comment below or email belinda.bennett@archant.co.uk