North Street Green: Better Without Billboards

Phil Swift, CEO, Western Power Distribution

North_street_green_billboards

For the community, not corporate ads: ask Western Power to take down the billboards.

Why is this important?

North Street Green is a valued green space in the heart of Bedminster and Southville, surrounded by residences as well as much-loved independent shops, cafés and services which bring many benefits to the local community.

Yet flanking the green are two enormous billboards which are jarringly out of place in our neighbourhood. Most often the adverts here are for big brands promoting products like cars, junk food, supermarkets and fast fashion. These bring little benefit to the local economy, unlike valuable local organisations and businesses, which have no access to this kind of exposure. This intrusive corporate advertising is undermining our local economy, community identity, environment and wellbeing.

What are we calling for?
The green is home to an electricity substation owned by Western Power Distribution (WPD). Global, one of the UK’s biggest advertising companies, has a contract with WPD which allows them to sell advertising space on the side of the substation.

We’re calling on Western Power to:

  • End the contract, and take down the billboards on North Street Green.
  • Work with the local community to transform this space: for the benefit of people who live, work and play here - not for big corporate advertisers.

This could mean more trees, planters, community noticeboards, murals, or a community arts space.

Better for local businesses
The Bedminster Business Improvement District (BID) represents over 350 businesses in the area. They say:
‘We want to be the high street of the future, not the past, where shopping local and independent has a positive effect on our community. We believe that corporate outdoor advertising can undermine our local economy by preferencing large corporations over local businesses. The billboards themselves give a negative impression of our local area, suggesting it is not highly valued or a pleasant place to stop and spend time. There are already dozens of billboards in the Bedminster area and we wish to see these numbers reduced.

As the landscape of BS3 changes, with new developments on the horizon, we wish to see our urban environment focus on positive messaging, safety and celebrating creativity.’

Chris Cierpik, of Rare Butchers of Southville, says: 'North Street Green is dwarfed by two unsightly billboards, goading us into buying something we just don’t need, or in the case of food advertising, buying food that in most cases is detrimental to health. What makes North Street so special is the great independent businesses and we can do without the eyesore of billboards defacing our street.'

Better for residents
Billboard advertising is aimed at passing traffic, but it’s the people who live and work near them who have to put up with this unwanted advertising. People living opposite these billboards have no choice but to see these enormous adverts every time they look out of their window, imploring them to buy, borrow and consume.

Local residents have described the billboards as ‘visual smog’, ‘eyesores’ and ‘far too big’. Some have even said that their young children have been frightened by huge adverts seen here for violent computer games and films.

Big advertising companies like Global have no interest in the views of local communities. But WPD is a Bristol based company. This is an opportunity for them to show they care about the people and the neighbourhoods they serve and want to help them thrive.

Sponsored by

To: Phil Swift, CEO, Western Power Distribution
From: [Your Name]

We are writing to ask you to please remove the two billboards beside your substation on North Street Green (substation number 110699, Luckwell Road).

You may not be aware, but the people who live and work near these hoardings have no choice but to see huge and intrusive adverts for cars, junk food, supermarkets, fast fashion and banks every time they take a walk or look out of their window.

The wider community is impacted too. North Street Green is a valued local green space and is surrounded by independent local businesses who deserve our support. Our local economy is undermined by these oversized big brand adverts which bring little benefit to our community and have been described as 'eyesores', 'visual smog' and 'far too big'.

The Bedminster Business Improvement District (BID) represents over 350 businesses in the area. They say: ‘We want to be the high street of the future, not the past, where shopping local and independent has a positive effect on our community. We believe that corporate outdoor advertising can undermine our local economy by preferencing large corporations over local businesses. The billboards themselves give a negative impression of our local area, suggesting it is not highly valued or a pleasant place to stop and spend time. There are already dozens of billboards in the Bedminster area and we wish to see these numbers reduced.'

You have the power to transform this space for the benefit of the local community.
We understand that Western Power Distribution has a contract with the advertising company Global which expires in March 2023. Please cancel your contract with Global, and work with us to transform the space around your substation on North Street Green for the benefit of the people who live, work and play there. This could be with more trees, planters, community noticeboards or murals, or a community arts space.