A BAN on street advertising boards in Saltaire has prompted a petition by traders to scrap a 12-month trial which they say is hitting business hard.

A blanket ban forbidding any type of A-board or street level sign was introduced by Bradford Council on January 1 this year with the aim of making streets safer for blind people, wheelchair users and children's push chairs.

The year-long trials are taking place in Saltaire, Ilkley, and in Leeds Road, Bradford, before the ban is expected to be extended to other areas.

But many view the strict rule as disproportionate and damaging to local trade, according to Caz Seton, who has run Saltaire Sandwiches on Victoria Road for nine years.

"We had on flat sign at the top of the road and a traditional A-board which sat in between the post box and council litter bin outside the shop and caused no blockage at all so wheelchairs and buggies could get through," she said.

"There have never been any incidents or complaints and without them we are losing such a lot of passing trade - it's hit everybody because people just look down a straight road and don't think we're open.

"Any boards left out would get a yellow sticker and ten days to move them or they'd be removed and a charge of £200 to get them back."

Ms Seton helped set up an online petition calling for the council trial scheme to stop immediately and has already more than a 100 signatures of support.

Raman Lad has owned the Spa store on nearby Titus Street for 25 years and has been forced to move three signs.

"We've always had boards outside and never a problem," he said.

"Everyone's suffering across Saltaire and not just in the Heritage Site - all the shops along Bingley Road have had to do the same.

"Times are hard enough as it is and this is hitting takings."

Jackie Hopwood, of Hopwood's deli and sandwich shop in Victoria Road, said: "This is becoming a massive argument and I can see both sides.

"I know there is a blind lad at Shipley college who has walked into A-boards in the past, but I also know where traders are coming from."

Emmerson Walgrove, deputy chairman of Bradford and District People's Forum, said: "A total ban is productive for those with disabilities enabling them to fully participate in society. It will enable them to navigate Saltaire's streets - and also to spend money there."

A council spokesman said: "Traders in Saltaire have been given plenty of notice and advice about the ban on A-boards and other pavement obstructions blocking the highway. Many traders have already complied by removing their boards.

"If the 12-month Zero Tolerance trial is successful in Saltaire, Ilkley and Leeds Road from the city centre to Thornbury, the ban will be extended to other areas.

"The ban is supported by the Royal National Institute of Blind People and organisations representing local disabled people.

"The council is trying to strike a balance.

"We don’t want to cause problems for businesses but we can’t let the situation stay as it is.