A BUSINESS owner hit with a £100 fine for leaving out an a-board has been rapped by council wardens again after he placed an “advertising sleeve” over a bollard.

Mel Wallis, who owns Mews Barbers and is landlord of Smith’s bar, both in Church Street, also claims wardens have ordered him to remove boards set out on his property.

He previously described advertising boards as a “lifesaver” for struggling businesses along the side streets of Colchester.

But the board falls foul of Colchester Council's public spaces protection order (PSPO), put in place in 2017 with the authority hoping to rid pavements of obstacles.

Mr Wallis said: “At the end of Christmas I paid a £100 fine for my board, the council put it out to a debt collector and they are like a dog with a bone so it wasn’t worth fighting it.

“I proceeded from Christmas to put a sleeve over a bollard at the bottom of Church Street.”

Gazette: A-boards in Colchester town centre in 2017, before the ban was put in placeA-boards in Colchester town centre in 2017, before the ban was put in place (Image: Newsquest)

After the sleeve was returned to him by disgruntled wardens, who told him the bollard is council property, he set out his a-boards in the forecourt of Smith’s bar.

“I was told I wasn’t even allowed that,” he said.

“They said it’s a blanket ban, but this is my property and it is not detrimental to people getting in there.

“There’s no way to trip over them, they aren’t on the pavement.”

Colchester Council says it wants to “work with businesses, not against them, to ensure they do not fall foul of the rules”.

A spokesman said: “A fixed penalty notice is only issued as an absolute last resort and always following repeated efforts by our city centre team to engage with and educate businesses about what is and isn’t permitted under the PSPO – as was the case before an FPN was issued to Mews Barbers last year for placing an A-board in Church Street.

“Recent attempts by our officers to engage with the business have focused on the placement of advertising sleeves over bollards on Head Street, not the A-board in the forecourt of Smith's Bar.

“Once again enforcement is always a last resort, and we have returned the advertising sleeves to the owner and tried to explain why they are not permitted, in the hope of avoiding any further action.”