A CLAMPDOWN is likely to go-ahead on advertisement signs on the North York Moors National Park.

“The impact of signs and advertisements on the character and appearance of buildings, settlements and the wider landscape of the park, can be considerable,” said Chris France, director of planning at the park authority in a report to the park’s planning committee.

The biggest problem is “advance signs” in the open countryside outside business premises, he said. “They are therefore nature conspicuous and prominently displayed. However for many businesses they are an important means of attracting and directing customers and thereby helping to support the tourism economy which is a key aim of the park’s management plan.”

Mr France said that signs needed to be sensitive and sympathetic to protect the visual amenity of the park and highway safety.

Worst affected areas, he said are the A170 from Helmsley to Sutton Bank and the A171 from Whitby to Charltons. Mr France is recommending to the planning committee at its meeting tomorrow a five point action plan to tackle the problem.

“There is a need for a more strategic approach,” said Mr France. Unless action is taken, he says, immunity will be acquired after a period of time by the business displaying illegal signs.

He is recommending to the planning committee at its meeting tomorrow (Thurs) a five point action plan - to raise awareness of the park’s planning policy on advertisement signs, spelling out where advance signs could be supported, providing advice to businesses, removal of unauthorised signs or seek planning pemission, and if businesses fail to co-operate, for legal action to be taken to remove them.

But warns, Mr France, the current level of unauthorised signs will involve a concerted effort by the park’s enforcement team.

Now, the park’s development working group is to discuss a new planning advice note on outdoor advertisement and signs as part of the plan to work with businesses seeking promotion through signage.