Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Ian Carr, has issued a statement after Hampshire County Councillor Tony Hooke posted on his Facebook page about the A-Boards.
The post from Cllr Tony Hooke and response from Cllr Ian Carr are as follows:
Statement from Cllr Ian Carr
Many of you will have seen the recent statement issued by HCC Cllr Tony Hooke claiming that I had a meeting with Diane James MEP and that the A- Board issue had been resolved. This is NOT the case and is yet another lie from Cllr Hooke and UKIP.
No such meeting took place and there is no resolution to the issue, I was not even in Beech Hurst when she wandered into reception. Although I must admit that I am confused as to why she visited our offices, when, as Cllr Hooke well knows, it is a County Council responsibility.
As someone who has run small businesses in the Town, I understand the importance of advertising and promotion, I am, therefore, very keen to support Andover’s local traders. I believe that a licensing scheme for A–boards could potentially offer a solution to the current impasse.
However, this is a highways matter and is the responsibility of Hampshire County Council as the highway authority. The more that I have thought about this and considered the complications and issues, the more I have come to my first view that such a scheme should be administered by the County Council on a county wide basis.
There is no vendetta against Andover local businesses by HCC or TVBC, more a conspiracy by two particular serial complainants to make life as difficult as they can for the local councils.
That being said, I remain committed to completing my investigations into licensing schemes and also to finding other ways in which the Borough Council can support traders.
Councillor Tony Hooke on his Facebook Page
Our local businesses fight back, with the support of Diane James, UKIP MEP with Cllr Tony Hooke, County Councillor.
Diane James UKIP MEP was in Andover High Street yesterday, leading a protest against the ludicrous decision by Hampshire County Council to remove small business A-Frame advertising boards from the pedestrianised town centre. It is an appalling situation, when small businesses are struggling in this current economic climate, to have a Tory Council threaten criminal prosecution and a fine of up to £1000 against any small retailer who did not comply with their bullying instruction.
At 1300 hrs on Friday afternoon, Diane went to the Borough Council offices to sort the matter out personally with the Leader. Diane stated “ It is the height of ridiculousness to take away the prime mechanism of small businesses’ the ability to promote themselves”
As a direct result of her intervention, the story is starting to leak from the Tory group of Councillors that they will do a complete u-turn and allow the a-frames to remain. Common sense solution to what could have been for small retailers an absolute disaster. The sooner we get candidates like Diane James elected into Westminster, the sooner we will get this Country back on its feet.
What a breath of fresh air.