Row over football pitch advertising resolved

Photo of advertising boards on railings around a football pitch.
Advertising boards on railings around a football pitch at Little Stoke Park.

A row over the number of permanent advertising boards being put up on the railings around a football pitch in Little Stoke Park has been resolved following lengthy discussions at two recent parish council meetings.

The perimeter barriers around the main pitch in the park were installed ahead of the 2016/17 football season when Little Stoke FC were promoted to the Gloucestershire County League.

Until the start of the current season, the club had been in the habit of erecting just two or three vinyl advertising banners around the pitch, on match days only. However, this summer, an increasing number of permanently fixed, solid advertising boards started to appear around the pitch as the club recognised the revenue-earning potential of the site, which has seen more footfall during the week following the opening of the community café.

Following concerns being raised through the council office that the club hadn’t sought permission to erect permanent advertising signs on the council-run site, the club was advised to take down the boards, the number of which by this time had risen to seven. The matter was then placed on the agenda for September’s Full Council meeting.

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At the meeting, representatives from Little Stoke FC said the club had experienced “a tough few years” and needed to explore all avenues to cover the cost of staging each match, which comes to £165 when hire charges and referee fees are considered. Similar costs are also incurred by their reserves and youth teams.

It was also pointed out that county standard football brings attendances of around 95 into the park, generating business for the café, but this didn’t impress council chair Cllr Ernie Brown who replied: “The parish council gets nothing from the café.”

Cllr Keith Cranney drew a parallel with the advertising signs that South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) allows on local roundabouts, pointing out that the revenue from these goes into SGC’s coffers.

Following discussion, it was agreed to allow the football club to reinstate the seven boards for the time being, pending the drawing up of a policy for advertising on council-run sites.


At a subsequent meeting of the council’s Planning Committee, a proposed policy was tabled which would allow the club to erect permanent advertising boards along a limited section of the pitch perimeter, stretching from the dugouts toward the corner near the café, and from there along the edge parallel to the 3G-court.

Cllr David Pembury expressed the view that the boards might block views into what “should be an open green space”, but Cllr Brian Allinson disagreed, saying he knew of no football ground without advertising boards.

Committee chair Cllr Andrew Shore said he would prefer to have a more comprehensive policy which could apply to other hirers of council facilities who might wish to advertise independently of the football club. But Cllr Dave Addison disagreed, saying it was only necessary to consider the request on the table and any future enquiries could be brought to council for consideration.

Following further discussion, councillors agreed to allow the football club to erect a maximum of 12 boards along the specified section of the pitch perimeter. The football club must obtain approval from the council for each new board design that it wishes to install.

This article originally appeared in the October 2021 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on page 25). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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