New Northumberland guidelines relating to A-boards, pavement cafés and goods for sale have been welcomed by an action group.
The county council reviewed its policy following calls to take action against what has been described as ‘street clutter’.
For main pedestrian routes the new guidance states that there should be an absolute minimum of two metres clear width of pavement – and a desirable width of three and a half metres.
For secondary pedestrian routes and other less heavily used footways, the absolute minimum clear width is one and a half metres, preferably two.
The new guidance has been designed to balance the needs of pedestrians to be able to visit and shop in safety, with the needs of shops and businesses to promote their services.
Council teams will assess situations and prioritise their attention on obstructions which are deemed to be outside the guidelines, and therefore present a danger, potential danger or block the passage of highway users.
The guidance includes the process the council will follow where objects need to be removed.
Members of the Northumberland (Low Vision) Action Group (NAG) have repeatedly raised concerns. They said the number of A-boards in town centres such as Morpeth has increase over the last few years.
NAG member John Anderson said: “The council’s decision does help blind and partially sighted people maintain their independence by being able to walk the streets of Morpeth a little easier.
“We would have preferred a total ban on A-boards, but we can only hope now that the council vigorously enforces the new guidance.”
Francesca Di Giorgio, regional campaigns officer for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, praised NAG for raising the issue with the local authority.