‘One rule for them, another for us’ – anger of carnival organisers over council’s lack of action on illegal banners

Fly posters that remain by the side of the Daneholes roundabout.

ORGANISERS of a charity carnival who were the subject of enforcement action by Thurrock Council last year have described themselves as “fuming” after the authority ignored similar banners for events at its own premises.

The team behind Stanford and Corringham Carnival, and many members of the local community, were incensed last year when council enforcement officers, on a random sweep of the area, took down posters promoting the event.

They also levied a fine on the carnival committee for fly-posting – though that was later revoked after a public protest.

The organisers – who say they lost a significant amount of money because they were unable to promote the carnival route – were warned that they should not put up signs in the future or they would face further action as the council had a stringent enforcement policy.

The warning came from the council’s strategic lead for enforcement and community protection, Phil Carver, who said: “The council does not permit your posters to be advertised on street furniture or any other areas on the public highway. Advertising in contravention of regulations is a criminal offence. We are very clear regarding fly posting.”

However, in recent weeks it appears the council has ignored signs promoting both the Thurrock Beer Festival and the Santus Circus, both of which were staged at the civic complex at Blackshots and the adjacent playing fields – both owned by Thurrock Council.

Both used railings close to the site to promote the events with banners – and the circus, a commercial venture, also widely fly-posted in the area. Some of their posters still remain, though the circus packed up and left at the weekend.

Last Friday carnival organisers Dave and Cherie Sergeant contacted the Thurrock Independent to express their concern that no action appeared to have been taken by the council to stop the banners being displayed – they were in place for some time before the events took place and were particularly prominent on the railings around Daneholes Roundabout at Socketts Heath.

The Thurrock Independent contacted the council immediately to ask for a response, but none was forthcoming until we sent a second request following the reported intervention of council leader Cllr Rob Gledhill.

Dave Sergeant

Dave Sergeant told us on Sunday: “I emailed Rob Gledhill about the signs, he stated he would pass my complaints on to the right department and get back to me

“This was the reply. ‘Nobody had reported these signs and when the environment office visited the Blackshots area today they could not find any signs on any council furniture’.

“Of course they couldn’t, the circus and beer festival is now all over
“I am fuming, I have asked if I put the carnival signs up and no one complains will they be left up.

“One rule for them another rule for us.”

Today (Tuesday, 11 June) the Thurrock Independent did receive a response from the council, saying: “The council treats all breaches in relation to the illegal use of posters, banners and other signage the same and will always take relevant enforcement action.

“Environment Enforcement Officers visited the Blackshots area on Monday 10 June and confirmed that no illegal signs were found, neither have any complaints about the matter been received by the council.”

Despite the council’s assertion that no illegal signs were found, Thurrock Independent editor Neil Speight visited the roundabout this afternoon and photographed a number of fly-posts on a fence at the roundabout promoting the now departed circus!