TRADERS in Monmouthshire will no longer have to pay for using A-boards to advertise their businesses.

Monmouthshire County Council have decided to remove the annual £50 fee from a policy which was first introduced in 2016.

The charge formed part of wider plans to control street furniture on pavements which could potentially pose a danger to visually impaired passersby.

It had been suspended since February of last year following widespread backlash from traders across the county.

Concerns over the costs were raised by both traders and councillors at a meeting of the strong communities select committee last September.

At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, deputy leader Cllr Bob Greenland told councillors that the policy had been proposed as an income generator for the local authority.

“We are not a council that has a lot of money that we can spend on additional services or additional areas where the public might like us to get involved,” he said.

“It was felt at the time that we should recoup some of the costs of the licences that would be necessary taking this forward.”

The council had hoped that the A-board policy would generate around £10,080 per year, if 70 per cent of traders took up the scheme.

Another part of the scheme involved retailers using outdoor seating, sail rails or other displays having to pay £125 a year and an annual renewal of between £120 and £360 - depending on the size the objects take up.

But this has also changed - while charges will remain in place, they will be half of the original fees.

“I take on board the views of traders that at the moment retailers are going through a very tough period and that they are facing large increases in business rates,” Cllr Greenland said on Wednesday.

“Therefore this is not a good time to be burdening them with more costs.”

All businesses will still require a permit to use A-boards or street furniture, and those who breach the policy could still be fined.

The policy will be brought to cabinet in a year’s time to review its impact amongst local traders.