A CAFE owner is refusing to pay a £100 A-board fine claiming the blanket ban will force independent shops from the town centre.

Defiant Dennis Davis, of Deja Brew in Red Lion Yard, Colchester, received the fine from Colchester Council the day after he used an A-board last week.

He says the coffee shop has suffered since the ban was introduced last October and is prepared to fight it in court.

He said: “They are destroying people. Fenwick has a 12ft woman standing in the High Street - if that’s not a hazard I don’t know what is.

“When I raised this previously, I was told Fenwick had planning permission for the statue, but how does that make it any better for a blind person for example?

“I wish to have a statue of a woman holding a doughnut in one hand and a coffee cup in the other - that’s what I’m going to ask for - just anything to say something is going on down Red Lion Yard.”

Dennis argues independent businesses, which lack large advertising budgets, are being unfairly penalised by the ban but need A-boards the most.

He said: “I understand, and don’t want people tripping over them, but we need some form of advertising allowed or else we really are going to lose all the independents from the town.

“How can we compete? We pay the same rates as the big guys, and this is my home town, I’m happy to pay my faire share of everything, but I want the same chance to prosper.”


Säntis Watches owner Simon Amey wants the re-open the debate, particularly for the privately-operated Red Lion Yard.


An alley of independent stores are tucked away down this walkway

He said: “A lot of the owners are wondering if they should get out because it’s affected their businesses so drastically.

“It’s a struggle to run a business anyhow but when someone knocks you back like that, it makes it worse. Not enough thought has been put into it.”

He added: “When you look down Red Lion Yard, it looks like there’s nothing there.

“For tourists who don’t know the area, they won’t be enticed to walk down here as it appears to be just a dark alley.”

Two fixed penalty notices have been issued since the introduction of the public spaces protection order.

One is the subject of a court hearing and the other was issued last week.

A Colchester Council spokesman said: “Red Lion Yard falls within the restricted area covered by the PSPO and, as such, the rule that restricts the use of A-boards and other removable or unsecured structures applies as it does elsewhere in the town centre.

“The legislation regulating PSPOs states: ‘The activity restricted by an order must be carried out in a public place, which is defined in the legislation as any place to which the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission’.”