Property agents agree to limit board sizes

Commercial property agents in Douglas have agreed to a voluntary code of practice drawn up by Douglas Development Partnership to limit the size of their signboards according to where they are sited in the town centre.

Under the agreement agents will limit large-format 5’ x 4’ (1.5 x 1.2m) projecting ‘For Sale’ and ‘To Let’ boards to wider streets such as Victoria Street, Lord Street, Loch Promenade, Ridgeway Street and Prospect Hill. In narrower streets, such as Nelson Street, Duke Street, Market Hill, Wellington Street, Strand Street, Regent Street, Howard Street, Granville Street and Marina Road, protruding boards will be limited to 2’6 x 1’9 (0.8 x 0.6m).

The agreement does, however, allow for large-format boards to be used in narrower streets if they are positioned on the inside of premises’ windows or used as window vinyls.

Development manager Chris Pycroft explained: ‘This voluntary code practice is born out the Douglas Marketing Initiative which is looking at ways to attract new business and investment to Douglas. We drew up this agreement in response to concerns about the proliferation of agents’ large signboards protruding into narrow streets, which are not only out of scale with the surroundings, but also, and more importantly, give the impression of a high level of vacant units, which could deter potential investors and have an adverse effect on commercial property values. That impression, however, is misleading as vacant unit rates in the town centre are relatively low, with figures for December 2014 showing that the vacancy rate in Douglas was 7.66 per cent, while the UK average for that period was 10.3 per cent and the North West 13.1 per cent.

‘We’ve been encouraged by how favourable the response to this code of practice has been. Clearly property agents in the town share our vision for a town that projects a vibrant “open for business” image with the power to attract investment and help secure a resilient economic future for the capital.’

Agents who have agreed to abide by the code of practice are Black Grace Cowley, Chapman Associates, Chrystals and Dean Wood.