Traders in Knokke-Heist are no longer allowed to place sandwich panels or merchandise for their business. “Cluttering of the street”, says mayor Piet De Groote, and he is unanimously supported by the city council. From 1 June, such a sandwich board can even result in a GAS fine. “Studies have shown that those things don’t have any effect on sales.”
You know them: the sandwich panels – double-sided signs – on which traders indicate that they are open or put promotions in the spotlight. They are often on public domain and thus hinder pedestrians.
“We are going to ban them”, announces Mayor Piet De Groote (GBL). The ban was even included in the police ordinance, which also prohibits the placing of merchandise or other items. “We think that the street scene is cluttered,” the mayor continues. “In Knokke-Heist we are working hard on a high-quality streetscape, which is one of the key points of our policy. But then it should not just be words.”
Recently, a construction ban was also issued in the tourist zone during the weekends.
GAS fine up to 350 euros
Will the ban on advertising panels not have a major impact on the sales figures of local traders? “Not at all, that’s completely wrong thinking,” says De Groote. “Studies have shown that such sandwich panels have no impact at all on turnover. On the contrary: they are often experienced as disruptive by shoppers.”
A recent study by Utrecht University of Applied Sciences showed that unimportant design elements, such as sandwich boards, for example, do indeed have a negative effect. “It also makes sense: it quickly becomes a jumble of different panels and merchandise. We strive for uniformity and a clean streetscape, and we want to go far in that.”
In time, they also want to get all terraces in Knokke-Heist uniform: steps have already been taken to achieve this.
Traders will receive a warning for violations until the end of May, from 1 June they can expect a fine. An adjustment period is therefore taken into account. “It concerns a GAS fine”, confirms De Groote. And on paper these can go up to 350 euros.
“You can still apply for a permit for certain things, such as placing a work of art or fruit and vegetables for the business. But we are going to limit that,” the mayor added. A temporary seizure of the public domain for an open day or a vernissage is also mandatory.