Despite the squeeze on public finances
Last financial year WLBC paid the Champion newspaper £37,769, and paid £26,021 in 2017-18, for publishing official notices.
Readers of the Champion will see pages of public notices, usually from LCC and WLBC, mostly about road traffic regulation orders (RTOs) and planning. This week alone the Champion has 13 such LCC notices including one full page with twelve RTOs. And WLBC has one sizeable notice of applications for planning permission.
The law requires public notice of all events restricting the movements of HGVs in residential areas, implementing parking restrictions (on single streets, not more widely, separate legislation exists for this), and restricting traffic for the purposes of parades, street parties and other events.
Introducing or changing a local plan has to be advertised, often by multiple page inserts. The authority should consult with anybody specified in Regulation 6 (depending on the order, other authorities and/or emergency services) and it must publish a notice in a local newspaper.
Some years ago it was considered by government that “where the present arrangements can no longer be justified, local newspapers cannot continue to expect to receive what is in effect, public sector subsidy through the continued placing of these adverts. The government strongly favours the use of on-line publication, and of other lower cost options to communicate with interested parties. But nothing changed.
So the Champion has a permanent source of advertising revenue paid by council tax payers. We still haven’t been informed by LCC what they have paid, but it will be enormous by comparison with WLBC.
With economy in mind, why shouldn’t local authorities simply put notices up in the area affected, detailing the RTO and referring readers to the council website page on road works if they want more details? Why should every West Lancashire resident taxpayer fund these very small font sized adverts? You’d have to read every single one of them to discover if your area was affected by RTOs. Where’s the logic? Where’s the common sense?