Press Release Archive:

Flying the flag – for what, for whom? Civic Society asks (January 2011)

A plan to fly advertising banners from more than 90 lamp-posts in and around the town centre has met with deep scepticism from Maidenhead Civic Society.
The scheme is being promoted as a revenue raiser for the council but the Society says it raises only questions.
"We have concerns over the effect on the environment, the appearance of the town and road safety, as well as how the banners themselves will be used," said Martin McNamee from the Civic Society.
"We could have two miles of flags promoting The Oracle in Reading or the London Eye – what does that do for Maidenhead?"
Planning applications have been submitted for the installation of 96 banners on the Bridge Road and Braywick Road approaches to the town centre, along St Cloud, Bad Godesberg and Frascati Ways and in High Street, King Street and Queen Street.
The idea, according to Bay Media, the applicants, who are acting at the council's behest, is "part of a new advertising revenue-generation scheme" for Maidenhead. They claim to have the backing of the Highways, planning and regeneration teams at the town hall. In their application, Bay Media say they've worked with RBWM on campaigns like Fostering Recruitment and these banners have received excellent feedback from council officers and the general public.
The Civic Society says the Council needs to think again.
Mr McNamee, chairman of the Society's Planning Group, said: "We totally support the much-needed regeneration of Maidenhead. Banners are used to good effect in many towns and cities in Britain. They can create a festive air at appropriate times for carnivals and cultural events. But this is completely different.
"It's not clear that the impact of the forest of flags being proposed here has been properly thought through. The planning applications are thin on facts leaving a lot of unanswered questions.
"Will there be just one message or a multitude? Who has editorial control, who decides what it's appropriate to advertise and what's not?
"Without proper consideration and control, we could end up with something which is not only a safety hazard and an eyesore but entirely inappropriate and – the opposite of what we need – demoralising."
The Society said it was pleased to see that, following complaints from residents, the applications have been called in to the Development Control Panel for scrutiny.