Independent trader threatened with £2,500 fine over fence advert (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Independent trader from Wanstead threatened with fine of up to £2,500 over fence advert in Leytonstone
A hard-up construction worker is outraged after being threatened with a fine of up to £2,500 for putting a temporary advert for his business on a fence he erected.
Stephen Aldridge, 50, of Wanstead Fencing, was sent a letter from Waltham Forest Council stating he had broken regulations after putting up the notice outside a house in Bushwood, Leytonstone.
Mr Aldridge says he has been attaching adverts to residential fencing in the borough for the last ten years without any fines or warnings from the council.
His fine will be £60 if he pays within 14 days but could rise to £2,500 if the case comes to court.
He said: "It's hard enough for small businesses at the moment without Mickey Mouse penalty notices like this.
"The council seems to have introduced this new policy without any warning. It's clearly a scam to make money to help their budget. It's austerity Britain gone mad.
"I think it's outrageous. That fence was my only job last week and I might as well have stayed at home, it's just a little sign that is only going to be there temporarily.
"I have the permission of the owner of the property and it's not hurting anyone. Councils should be helping small businesses but instead they are clobbering us."
Mr Aldridge, of New Wanstead in Wanstead, said he is considering appealing against the fine.
The Guardian is awaiting a comment from the council.
It comes after the council began fining estate agents in 2011 for having 'for sale' and 'sold' boards up for too long in some roads, in an attempt to smarten up high streets in the borough.
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