COUNCILLORS are on a mission to declutter Hexham's town centre of "overbearing" temporary signage.

And one member of Hexham Town Council has directed his frustration at a "one-metre wide glowing yellow" sign, which declares that businesses are open as usual'.

Speaking at the town council's meeting on Monday, Coun. Derek Kennedy, who also represents Hexham West on Northumberland County Council, said: "This is just a ridiculous sign. It's a nonsense and it's just a nuisance. A lot of businesses have been shut for weeks. This is a pandemic - there is nothing usual about this.

"I think the amount of temporary signage is remarkably overbearing. There are ways of reducing this unsightly signage.

The signs went up last August when the county council introduced a one-way traffic system, as part of measures to make the town centre more Covid-friendly with space for social distancing.

In November, the council tweaked the system, with a return to two-way on Beaumont Street, while another element of the scheme, to pedestrianise the Market Place on farmers' market day, remained in place.

But local businesses, which set up a representative group during the summer, said the move was not enough, and that the restrictions had adversely affected trade.

Coun. Kennedy said he recognised that the county council had a duty of care in mitigating the transmission of Covid, but would work with highways chiefs on finding a solution.

The Mayor of Hexham, Coun. Bob Hull said: "Many of those signs are required by the Department of Transport. I agree it would be good to limit the amount of signage."