WHETHER it’s fly-posting or street-cluttering advertising boards there has to be a question mark. Really, is there a need, if it means that the overall look of a town ends up being a bit shabby, untidy, cluttered? Surely for the very people the adverts are supposed to be promoting it’s better to have a tidy town, free from obstacles and bedraggled posters with outdated adverts.

The problem of course for Northallerton Town Council is how far to go. In York they’ve banned A-boards in most areas of the city centre apart from a small spot where you can buy a permit giving you carte blanch to litter the pavement with advertising.

So if it’s a question of money, could it be justified? Well no, not in a town such as Northallerton. The county town of North Yorkshire is a draw because it’s an attractive shopping experience, it’s a pottering, slow wander of a spot where you peruse, ponder and procrastinate over looking and buying or just looking.

You can appreciate the exasperation of a councillor confounded as to why a phone shop should put boards out exclaiming the sale of phones or a baker that proclaims the availability of sausage rolls. Offending A-boards are under the remit of North Yorkshire County Council - and it is an offence to obstruct free passage along the pavement without permission. But a heavy handed clampdown may not be the answer. Hopefully the threat of enforcement may be enough to make them think twice about obstructing the pavements or defacing buildings with unnecessary and often useless adverts.

Surely it is better to promote by attractive ambience and interesting window displays? That’s certainly the challenge.