Businesses have hit out at a council ruling which says could impact visits from customers.
Companies on the West Chirton North Industrial Estate have hit out at a decision by North Tyneside Council to remove all advertising hoardings from the entrance to the estate off Larch Court in North Shields.
They have now been told by the authority the banners contravene regulations made under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and as a result they will need to apply for planning permission.
But the businesses are concerned there is no guarantee it would be approved.
Mandy Robinson, who runs Chips Away with Garry Charlton, said: “We received a letter saying that our signs have to come down. They have been up for five years without any issue.
“We’re just trying to bring customers into the area and estate.
“This is going to drive people away, how will they know who is on the estate?
“Apparently someone has complained about the signage, but we have been told that the council is visiting other business estates to issue the same advice. How can that be if one person complained about ours?”
She added: “We’ve taken our signs down as we have been told that if we don’t remove them then businesses will be prosecuted.
“We’ve been told that it is an eight-week long planning process to get permission, and it’s going to cost around £800 but there is no guarantee it would be approved.
“It just feels to be a way for the council to make money.”
Concerns have been raised that without the advertising boards, people driving past will be unaware of the businesses.
Mandy added: “We pay for local advertising in publications but with this happening we can’t move forward with that.
“We rely heavily on these signs. We have a lot of older customers who don’t use Facebook or social media like that.”
A spokesperson for North Tyneside Council said: “We make every effort to support local businesses, however when advertising banners are displayed without permission we have a duty to take action as they contravene national planning regulations.
“We are always very happy to work with any business to offer our help and advice on how they can display their banners legally.”