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Landlords face fines of £2,500 for using 'to let' signs

Signs advertising properties for rent have become a familiar site on almost every urban street.

Lettings agents say the boards are a necessary way to advertise but homeowners argue they spoil the appearance of their suburbs.

They have caused so much controversy in Newcastle that the council has now successfully applied to ban all 'to rent' signs across large parts of the city.

From January, any landlord who doesn't comply faces fines of up to £2,500.

Katie Oakes reports:

Letting boards 'affecting the character' of Jesmond

Newcastle City Council has successfully applied to ban signs advertising rental properties in some areas of the city.

It follows years of complaints from residents who say the boards lower the quality and appearance of their streets.

From January, any landlord or letting agent displaying boards without permission in Jesmond, Heaton, Gosforth and Sandyford could face fines of up to £2,500.

Kath Lawless, of Newcastle City Council, says the boards have "brought the area down":

But John Henderson, of Acorn Properties, has spoken of the inevitable affect on business:

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Newcastle City Council bans 'to let' signs in Jesmond

Newcastle City Council has banned 'to let' boards across the student areas of Jesmond, Heaton and Gosforth.

The ban is after years of complaints from residents who say it lowers the quality of the area and claim the signs affect house prices.

From January, any landlord or letting agent displaying boards without permission could face fines of up to £2,500.

Drugs and cash found in house raid

Police discovered suspected drugs and a large amount of cash while searching a house in Jesmond, Newcastle

Officers, together with a team from environmental health, went to an address to seize equipment as part of a noise abatement order.

When they arrived they discovered the money and drugs and a man,24, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled class-A drug with intent to supply.

Another man, 22, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled class B drug with intent to supply.

Both are students at Newcastle University, which has been informed and will follow its own disciplinary procedure.

In addition, a third man aged 27 was also arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled class A drug with intent to supply. All three have been bailed pending further enquiries.

"This should act as a warning to people that we work closely with our partners to take action against those suspected of being involved in drug use and supply.

"In particular, students should be aware that we share information with partner agencies, including the universities, and none of us will tolerate such behaviour. Criminal activity such as this could see them removed from education and ruin their bright future prospects, not to mention the health implications. It's just not worth it."

– Neighbourhood Inspector Neil Brotherton

Guide leader pleased with oath battle win

Glynis Mackie, guide leader at the 37th Newcastle Guide Unit, said:

"We just think it's fantastic that we have won our battle, they were trying to force us out with no process and only three weeks' notice, the girls were really upset.

"It has been tough on them, a couple of girls have been fundraising hard for a trip to Ghana and would have had to register with another group if we had been shut down.

"New members have been without a proper uniform for weeks because I've had to honestly tell them that they may have to join another group soon.

"I am so pleased to have pushed and made a fuss over this, I was not going to let them close us down quietly."

– Glynis Mackie, Leader of the 37th Newcastle Guide Unit

Newcastle guide unit wins oath battle

A Newcastle-based girl guide group who were told they would be expelled if they failed to remove God from their oath have won their fight to remain part of the Girl Guides organisation.

The 37th Newcastle Guide Unit at Jesmond Parish Church received a letter from Girl Guiding's chief commissioner in the North East informing them their membership would end if they did not start using a new oath which has no mention of religion.

But the group have now been informed the threat has been lifted.

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Chief Guide statement

Girlguiding is extremely sad to hear of any situation which means girls and young women will no longer be able to benefit from the wonderful experiences offered by Girlguiding. This is why we have offered more time for the leaders of 37th Newcastle Guides to reconsider their decision.

"Girlguiding's new Promise warmly welcomes girls of all faiths, and none, to become members. The updated wording grew out of an extensive consultation with over 44,000 people. Our members made it clear during the consultation that they want to retain just one Promise that unites us all behind a shared set of values: to be honest, helpful, kind and considerate; to respect other people and the world around you; to develop your beliefs and have the courage of your convictions; to face challenges; to be a good friend; and to take action for a better world.

"Our priority is always to ensure that as many girls as possible can benefit from the fun, friendship and adventure our charity can offer. We have already offered support to affected parents who wish their daughters to be transferred to an alternative unit.

We very much hope to continue constructive discussions with the leaders in question."

– Gill Slocombe, Chief Guide

Guide group says girls are standing by them

For more than 50 years Guide groups have met at Jesmond Parish Church Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

If the 37th Newcastle Guide Unit refuse to adopt the new Girlguiding promise by 19 January they will have to leave the organisation.

The group says it wants to be allowed to choose whether to adopt the new promise which has no mention of God or continue using the former promise to 'love God'.

The guide leaders say they have around 100 girls in their group and the vast majority are choosing to stay with them even if they have to become an independent group.

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