We’re delighted to say that Bristol City Council have rejected the proposals for 34 new digital advertising screens on our streets, which we first reported on here.
Thank you Bristol City Council, and big thank you to everyone who objected to the proposals – your voices will have helped the Council step up and say that Bristol doesn’t want these InLink units here!
Each application has a report detailing the reasons it was rejected and copied below are some of the problems that applied to every proposed site. We don’t want them because of the unsightly and dangerous advertising screens, but it turns out there’s lots of other things to be concerned about too!
The intention of the InLink device is to encourage users to use generally high value mobile devices out in the public realm. Good crime reduction advice does recommend that to protect yourself from street robbery you should keep your mobile phone and valuables out of sight. It therefore becomes a personal safety issue, with users open to street robbery. The sites will also allow a potential offender to reasonably justify a reason for being in the vicinity, claiming that they are using the Wi-Fi facility.
The 999 button/facility is open to misuse with the button large and prominent on the device; other police constabularies (Metropolitan Police Service) have reported an increase of hoax calls which places a further burden on the police service.
The other reported issue is the facility being used for drug dealing, a Designing Out Crime Officer (DOCO) in Tower Hamlets has made this point ‘Our local cctv operatives at Tower Hamlets have images showing groups of drug users forming an orderly queue to use the phone on these booths to order drugs using the free 30 second call that is provided’.
The units’ construction has a main casing made of cast aluminium and access panels made of powder coated aluminium. Whilst thieves traditionally targeted Non-Ferrous Metals (NFM) such as copper, lead, tin and related alloys, e.g. brass and bronze; higher values mean that traditionally less attractive NFM such as aluminium and ferrous metals, such as iron and steel (stainless and mild) can now be a target. Metal theft is no longer confined to the contents of buildings and yards, as was often the case in the past, but now extends to include parts of premises; e.g. building roofs, roof flashings, door hardware, boilers and plumbing, electric cables/substation components; plus premises gates, fencing, sculptures/statues and highway signs and drain/manhole covers. (Source Aviva)
The units are open to criminal damage and graffiti, the DAS does not make any reference to how they will be protected from fly posting, spray paint graffiti and glass etching.
Many locations covered by these applications are areas frequented by rough sleepers. The Streetwise coordinator for Bristol who is tackling street-based ASB, begging, street drinking and persistent problematic rough sleepers has advised that the charging facility within these units could become an issue with this group. The units could become a ‘honey pot’ where people gather and linger and cause anti-social behaviour.
Creating pedestrian ‘pinch points’
In certain locations these units will significantly reduce pavement width; this will become a pinch point once users of the units and pedestrians are using the space. This could infringe personal space and fail to accommodate passing wheelchairs and mobility vehicles and potentially lead to conflict between various users.
You can find links to all of the rejected proposals here – each one has it’s own report with more individual detail.
We’re still waiting to hear if later planning applications for a further 8 units (16 ad screens) have been rejected too – so watch this space for more news.