The end of the world is nigh for Oxford Street's boardmen

They are paid a pittance and stand for hours come rain or shine wielding heavy advertising boards promoting anything from golf to language schools.

Now the sandwich board men of central London could be a thing of the past under new rules aimed at "decluttering" the capital's teeming pavements.

A law coming into force this autumn will give councils the power to ban mobile street signs from designated areas, including Oxford Street, London's busiest shopping street with 200 million visitors a year.

Westminster council said the unopposed London Local Authorities Bill allows the council to regulate advertising. "If the individuals wanted to attach the golf sale signs to buildings we would not allow them," he said. "Another problem relating to them is that they also block the pavement, hampering the free flow of pedestrians."

News of the plan drew a mixed response from Oxford Street's workers.

Andres Mezetes, 40, a Latvian living in Hackney, said competition for other jobs in London among its immigrant community would only grow if the ban were enforced. But, Mr Mezetes, who spent the last month advertising the internet international cause'' for just £2.50 an hour, also said: "I won't be upset if placard carriers are stopped on Oxford Street because the pay is too low.

"It's a big sign to carry, it's too hot at the moment and the money is too little. I am allowed to shelter in the shop when it is raining, but on days like this it is very difficult.''

Dario Pedrocche, 25, trained as a builder in Italy but has been earning £4 an hour advertising "tattoo & piercing''. He too said he would not mind giving up the job. "I don't enjoy this job, it is just lost time, not real work. I'm trying to find better work."

Jace Tyrell, head of communications at the New West End Company, an umbrella organisation that represents shops on Oxford, Bond and Regent streets, said "decluttering the space will guarantee a safe environment for shoppers".

He said that a two-year report, Choices for a Better West End, found that businesses and shoppers were overwhelmingly in favour of ridding the street of mobile advertisements. But not all traders are in favour of the ban. Mick Crosland, manager of the London Guitar Studio on Duke Street, said he would fight a ban on people using boards for advertising.

"It will affect our business negatively," he said. "Our board man hands out leaflets which generate business. The board brings people down the road."

Westminster council has been campaigning to get the placards removed since 2002, when it attempted to take out an injunction against Andrew Wells, the owner of a discount golf store in Maddox Street. The judge threw out the bid because the law at present refers to "advertising sites", which does not include pavements of Oxford Street.

Sandwich boards and placard carriers have advertised on London's streets since the early 19th century when people would carry signs offering goods and services such as linen, haberdasher, silks, cambric, port wine and washing for "threepence a shirt".

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Polly Borgen at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012
peopleThe Emmy award-winner starred in Cape Fear, the Sopranos and Desperate House Wives
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teaching Assistant required in ...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam