Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Cabinet Meeting: 29th February, 2012
Report of the Cabinet Member for Visible and Building Services
Policy on Tourist Signing within the Vale of Glamorgan
Purpose of the Report
1. To advise Members of details of a proposed Policy on Tourist Signing within the Vale of Glamorgan and to obtain Members' approval for the use of the Policy in the future.
1. That Members note the contents of the report.
2. That Members approve the use of the Policy in the future.
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. For information.
2. To clarify the Council's position.
2. The Council's Highway Projects and Traffic Management Group, Highways and Engineering, receive numerous requests for the provision of tourist signs. There are currently 18 applications for tourist signs being held until an appropriate and sustainable policy has been agreed. Historically, 'white on brown' signs have been approved by the Highway Authority but, as no policy has existed, this has led to a lack of clarity in the approval process.
3. Tourism and travel are leading contributors to the Vale of Glamorgan’s economy, both in terms of the number of people employed and the income generated. The overwhelming mode of travel is the private car and it is therefore essential that efficient and adequate guidance is given to visitors.
4. The ‘white on brown’ tourist type signs have now been in use for over twenty years and are readily recognised both nationally and internationally. Although these signs are intended to direct rather than to attract visitors, the National Assembly for Wales is keen to allow the interests of commercial activity as much consideration as is reasonably practicable given other factors (for example road safety, traffic management and environmental impact).
5. Guidance on the provision of tourist signs is given in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges published jointly by the Highways Agency, Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly Government and the Department for Regional Development Northern Ireland. Volume 8, Section 2, Part 5, TA 94/04, 'Guidance for Tourist Signing - Local Roads' of this document provides the following definition for a tourist destination:
"A tourist destination means a permanently established attraction or facility which:
(a) attracts or is used by visitors to an area; and
(b) is open to the public without prior booking during its normal opening hours".
6. The Guidance for Tourist Signing TA 94/04 also provides the following examples:
"Tourist attractions include visitors centres, theme parks, historic buildings, museums, zoos, parks and gardens, natural attractions (such as nature reserves, beaches, viewpoints), areas of special interest, country tours, tourist routes, sports centres, concert venues, theatres and cinemas.
Tourist facilities include hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfast establishments, public houses, restaurants, holiday parks, touring and camping parks, picnic sites and Tourist Information Centres."
7. The Design Manual for Roads and Bridges also includes a directive in Volume 8, Section 2, Part 4, TD 52/04, 'Traffic Signs to Tourist Attractions and Facilities' which is intended to ensure that signs are appropriate to meet the strategic needs of the tourism industry and road users in general, and which are consistent with safe and efficient traffic management and have minimal impact on the environment.
8. 'White on brown' signs have to comply with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 and Chapter 7 of the Traffic Signs Manual. Standard symbols are identified for most attractions and, although their use is not obligatory, they significantly reduce the size and therefore the cost of sign assemblies and are beneficial in simplifying composite sign content.
9. The Highway Authority must balance legitimate commercial interests with those of road safety, traffic management and environmental control when assessing applications for tourist signs. Roads which are overloaded with traffic signs competing for driver’s attention cannot fulfil their primary objective of providing safe and efficient travel.
10. The Highway Authority remains the sole arbiter of determining which sign may be erected on Vale of Glamorgan roads and may accept, reject or modify applications for such signs according to local conditions.
11. As part of the ongoing development and improvement of the Tourism website (www.visitthevale.com) the aim is to create a user friendly, attractive, interactive map locating all tourism facilities which would enable users to select a property and then click for additional information such as opening times, directions etc. Major food and drink establishments would be an integral part. Currently the website features a section for food and drink that includes a list of properties within the Vale of Glamorgan and features property name and address, telephone number and web link (where available). Timescale for this development is currently being discussed with the Web Team.
12. In order to provide a consistent measure of quality control, all applications relating to accommodation, attractions and activities shall provide evidence that they are recognised by Visit Wales.
Relevant Issues and Options
13. The details of the proposed Policy on Tourist Signing within the Vale of Glamorgan are presented in Appendix 'A' to this report.
14. The 'Application Form' is presented in Appendix 'C' to this report.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)
15. There will be no financial implications to the Council as all costs involved with the provision of Tourist Signing will be met by the applicant.
16. The management of the application process for Tourist Signing and the design of signs is undertaken by the Council's Highway Projects and Traffic Management Group, Highways and Engineering. The manufacture and erection of signs is undertaken by the Council's Construction Section.
17. There are no Climate Change Implications with regard to this report.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
18. All signage used on the highway network has to comply with the requirements of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 and Chapter 7 of the Traffic Signs Manual.
19. There are no Human Rights Implications with regard to this report.
Crime and Disorder Implications
20. A clear policy should regularise and encourage the use of appropriate signage whilst reducing the incidence of unauthorised sign posting and thereby improving road safety and reducing the potential for incidents of disorder.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
21. The provision of appropriate tourist signage will assist with highway safety and will benefit all sectors of the community.
22. Any tourist signage will comply with the requirements of the Council's Welsh Language Scheme.
23. To maintain and develop a safe and effective highway.
Policy Framework and Budget
24. This is a matter for Executive Decision by Cabinet.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
25. No Ward Member consultation has been undertaken with regards to this report as the proposals will affect all areas within the Vale of Glamorgan.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
26. Economy and Environment.
Paul Gay - Group Engineer (Highway Projects and Traffic Management)
Tel. No. 02920 673086
Operational Manager Legal Services
Operational Manager Leisure and Tourism
Tourism and Marketing Manager
Accountant, Building and Visible Services
Rob Quick, Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration