FEARS have been raised that plans to put up more than 100 advertising banners on lampposts could cheapen Portsmouth’s image.
Worried campaigners are fighting to prevent the city becoming a ‘giant advertising hoarding’ covered in signs promoting companies like Tesco, Lidl and Sony.
The council’s private contractor Colas has applied for permission to put up large banners on the sides of roads in the city centre and across Southsea.
If the application is successful the 2m-tall adverts will go up in streets including Albert Road, Osborne Road, Palmerston Road and Mile End Road.
The national firm which designs and installs the banners, Bay Media, has tried to reassure residents that they are mainly intended for promoting local businesses and community events.
But representatives from the Portsmouth Cultural Partnership are keen to meet Colas to try to agree a compromise.
Chairman of the group Steve Pitt said: ‘We are not opposed to the whole idea of putting banners up, but we want to make sure whatever Colas decides to put up isn’t going to cheapen the city.
‘If you are coming into Portsmouth on the M275 and you are suddenly confronted by adverts for Asda, or even signs suggesting you visit Southampton, then that is not the proper way to present the city.
‘When we are trying to regenerate Portsmouth and create a tourist industry we should be promoting the Dickens bicentenary or the birthplace of Sherlock Holmes.’
The leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said it was in Colas’s contract to use the space, but that he was not in favour of the adverts.
‘I don’t like the idea,’ he said. ‘Although I can see there is an argument for some of them in some locations.
‘The ones in Albert Road work well because they are just about the history of the area.’
A spokeswoman for Colas said: ‘We are following the proper planning procedure, but are also having discussions with those who object, such as the Portsmouth Cultural Partnership.’
Joint founder of Bay Media Adam Forman said his company had worked with dozens of councils across the country, including in Brighton and Southampton.
‘We design the banners so they do not move or twist in the wind and always look good,’ he said. ‘They are not billboards. Coca-Cola adverts will not start popping up all over Portsmouth, they are intended to promote local events and businesses.’