KEIGHLEY traders have hit out at a decision to ban A-boards from the district’s pavements.

And the businesses are backed by the town’s Business Improvement District (BID) manager, Paul Howard.

He says that provided the advertising boards – a common sight on shopping streets in Keighley and across the district –are positioned sensibly, they shouldn’t create a problem.

“A lot of businesses do rely on these boards and we support the use of them provided it’s done responsibly,” said Mr Howard.

Bradford Council decided at its latest full meeting to impose a blanket ban on the boards.

The ruling has been welcomed by disability groups, which have long campaigned for action.

After the meeting, Maqsood Sheikh – regional campaigns officer for the Royal National Institute of Blind People – said: “I think it shows Bradford Council is leading the way in removing obstacles not just for blind people but for people with disabilities.”

Earlier this year the council’s executive opted against a ban, but the health and social care overview and scrutiny committee took the rare step of quashing the decision and asking the full council to vote on the matter instead.

Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said her executive’s original plan – to ask businesses to buy a licence for A-boards – had been an attempt at a compromise between disability campaigners and traders, but the idea “didn’t please either party”.

Opposition councillors called on the authority to do more to help businesses whose trade could be hit by the decision.

Akmal Sakander, of Pennine Plus in Cavendish Street, said his A-boards were highly effective in attracting customers.

“I can understand it being a problem if people were to put the boards in the middle of the pavement but if they are up against the shopfront I don’t see how it’s an issue,” he said.

And fellow Cavendish Street trader Graham Benn, of DIY Solutions, questioned the ban.

“My understanding is that if the A-board is within 600mm of your shopfront – which is the area you own – the council can’t stop you placing it there,” said Mr Benn, who is also chairman of Keighley BID.

“Having an A-board makes a big difference to us, and we also have brushes for sale outside the front.

“We would be affected if we weren’t able to use the shopfront area.”