Act now! THIRTY-FOUR new digital advertising screens planned for Bristol city centre

We know advertising companies are a sneaky bunch, so don’t let these latest applications fool you. They are plans for 34 (yes THIRTY FOUR) new digital advertising screens in Bristol – a partnership between BT and outdoor advertising giant Primesight.

The plan is for 17 new wifi units (replacing existing BT payphones), each with two advertising screens, to be set up all around the city centre – from Stokes Croft, to Broadmead, to Park Street.

The advertisers are trying to persuade us that these new installations ‘are more than just an advertising screen’ and would be helpful for the community but in reality they are unwanted, unnecessary and just a way to push more corporate advertising into our public spaces.

People in Bristol are increasingly concerned about the ongoing commercialisation of our public spaces, particularly through digital advertising. The council should be listening to those concerns, not blindly allowing dozens more digital advertising screens into our city.

So here’s a chance to make your voice heard!

Click on the links below which will take you to the 17 individual applications on the council’s planning portal, enter your details and submit your comments for each one.

Some points you could make:

  • 15 new digital advertising screens were recently approved for the city centre despite public opposition.
  • These are 34 additional digital screens which are unwanted and unnecessary.
  • There is growing concern among people in Bristol about the spread of corporate advertising in our city, particularly digital advertising.What is the council’s policy on this?
  • The advertisers claim that these units are ‘a valued advertising programme in harmony with its surroundings’. Do you think these digital advertising screens would be in harmony with our public spaces? (The advertisers also claim that ‘each unit fits into its local environment, being visually unimposing’.)

Once you’ve sent your comments, share this post with your friends so they can have their say too.

Here are the offending proposals:

Anchor Road

The Horsefair / Union Street

Debenhams, The Horsefair

Horsefair / Concorde Street

Lower Castle Street / Broadmead Car Park Jct

Broadmead / O2

Quakers Friar

Union Street

Wine Street

St Stephens Street

Baldwin Street

Prince Street

Park Street

Queens Road

Park Row

Marlborough Street

Stokes Croft




‘Low impact’ advertising in parks to be considered despite public opposition

A report of the Bristol City Council debate on 20th March 2018 regarding Adblock Bristol’s petition to ‘Keep Our Parks Advertising Free’.  Article from the Bristol Cable – by Hannah Vickers

‘Low impact’ advertising in parks to be considered despite public opposition

Advertising is likely to be allowed in parks with the possibility of billboards appearing in the future.

‘Low impact’ advertising in Bristol’s parks is likely to go ahead with the council refusing to rule out allowing billboards in the future, despite strong support for a petition and councillors agreeing on the negative impact.

A petition against the council’s controversial proposal to allow advertising in parks got nearly 4,000 signatures, forcing a full council debate on 20 March.

While Deputy Mayor Asher Craig said that billboards aren’t yet part of the plans, they weren’t ruling them out completely. “We cannot preclude this from ever happening as we may need to explore this again in the future if more income is required for council services,” she said.

Craig said that austerity had put the council “between a rock and a hard place” as the council tries to close the £108m budget gap.

Allowing advertising in parks would bring in an estimated £50,000 a year, but parks are set to lose £2.86 million a year from 2019.

The council says that services will need to be “run in a very different way, working in partnership with communities to look at income generation opportunities, while also making savings and making services as efficient as possible”.

“It’s a positive that the council are almost overwhelmingly sympathetic to the principle but also disappointing and frustrating that the council doesn’t seem to be willing or able to act on those feelings” Continue reading “‘Low impact’ advertising in parks to be considered despite public opposition”

Campaigners force council debate on advertising in Bristol parks

Bristol City Council will hold a debate on Tuesday 20 March as a result of our petition signed by almost 4,000 people calling for the council to drop proposals to introduce advertising into the city’s parks.

The debate will be held as part of the council’s full meeting at City Hall, which starts at 6pm.

Our petition shows that thousands of people feel that the city’s parks are no place for commercial advertising. Many of us feel that there is too much advertising in public spaces already, and are concerned about the impact on the environment, local economy and public health, among other problems. For example, a new report has shown that young people who regularly see junk food advertisements, including those on billboards, are more likely to be obese.

More detail on some of the concerns around corporate outdoor advertising are outlined in a briefing for councillors that we prepared, which you can find here.

Advertising in Bristol parks_illustration by Rosa Ter Kuile_resized
illustration by Rosa Ter Kuile

If you support the petition, why not contact your councillors and let them know? Here’s how:

1. Find your local councillors and their email addresses from this webpage.
2. Send them an email explaining, “As a resident in your ward…..” and then tell them why you are concerned about the ads in parks proposal – if you want, you can use our template below.
3. Include your name and postcode, so that they know you’re a resident in their ward.
4. Attach the briefing PDF (download it here).
5. If you get a response from your councillor, we’d love to know what they said, so that we can understand the views of different councillors across the city.  Email us at adblockbristol@gmail.com.

Continue reading “Campaigners force council debate on advertising in Bristol parks”

Bristol says no to new digital billboard

adblocked_Bearpit_final (2)

Success! Plans for a new digital advertising screen have been rejected by Bristol City Council following objections from Adblock Bristol members and supporters.

Advertisers wanted to replace a static billboard at the bottom of Marlborough Street, near Bristol’s central bus station and the Bearpit, with a new brightly-lit digital screen. Local residents and traders argued that it would be a distraction to motorists (to whom it would obviously be aimed), unsightly to pedestrians and harmful to the character of Bristol. The application was refused in February 2018.

Read the Bristol Post article here.

The existing hoarding – which is very large, known in the industry as ’96-sheet’ size – has been on the site for many years without any planning consent. Christmas Steps Arts Quarter, a group of local traders and residents, have raised the issue with the council who say they will make sure the offending structure is removed.

Hamilton Caswell of Christmas Steps Arts Quarter said, “The applicant may appeal, but unless they are successful we look forward to seeing the site (a pleasant wall fronted by shrubs) revealed without either type of hoarding in front.”

Stay in touch for updates and more opportunities to get involved in the Adblock Bristol campaign: follow us on Twitter or join our mailing list

Burg Arts re-launches with billboard celebrating community activism

New artwork references previous campaigns to remove corporate billboards in the area.

A new artwork has been installed on a dormant billboard in St Werburghs this week, marking the relaunch of the ‘Burg Arts’ project in the neighbourhood.

The art work references historic campaigns to have corporate advertising billboards removed in the area and was  designed by Matt Bonner in collabation with the St Werburghs Neighbourhood Association and Adblock Bristol.  Residents of the area were asked, “What do you like living about living in St Werburghs?” and their response were gathered as visual concepts to be included in the piece.

Adblock Bristol will be working with artists throughout 2018 including reknown poet Robert Montgomery.  Montgomery will hold a public event in St Werburghs in April 2018 to present his previous work and hear ideas for a new piece to be installed on the Burg Arts board later this year.

Robbie Gillett, a local resident and organiser with Adblock Bristol said,

“We wanted to produce a piece that celebrates the green spaces, community spirit and things that matter to people in St Werbughs.

Burg Arts aims to create a postive alternative to the corporate advertisements bombarding us with consumer messages for new cars, fizzy drinks and junk food.

With advertising companies pushing harder across the city for more billboards, especially digital displays, this project is about reclaiming public space for public good.”

St Werburghs Neighbourhood Association ran a successful campaign to remove 6 out of 13 billboards from the area.  In addition to artist Robert Montgomey, the Burg Arts project will be working with local youth groups to co-create future pieces for the board.

If you’re an artist interest in contributing artwork to the Burg Arts project this year, please email adblockbristol@gmail.com.

09_Matt Bonner Burg Arts Feb 2018 Continue reading “Burg Arts re-launches with billboard celebrating community activism”

Join us at our next organising meeting – Wednesday 4 April 2018

Our monthly organising meetings are open to anyone who’s interested in planning and delivering the campaign for an ad-free Bristol, and related activities. Maybe you have an idea you’d like to share, or want to know how you can get involved, or simply want to find out more. All are welcome.

Next meeting:
Date: Wednesday 4 April 2018
Time: 7pm – 8.30pm
Venue: Green Room, Zero Degrees Bar, 53 Colston St, Bristol, BS1 5BA

Follow us on Twitter here: @AdblockBristol

Keep our parks ad-free: over 3,000 sign petition to Bristol City Council

People in Bristol have responded with alarm to a proposal to introduce commercial advertising into the city’s parks and green spaces, with over 3,000 citizens signing a petition delivered to City Hall today (find the petition here).

Continue reading “Keep our parks ad-free: over 3,000 sign petition to Bristol City Council”

Lunchtime Lecture: Adblock Bristol

Every Thursday, different speakers present different subjects at Bristol Central Library.

Lunchtime Lecture: Imagining a city free from corporate advertising
Thursday 25th January 2018
12.30pm – 1.20pm
@ Bristol Central Library, BS1

In the last few years, residents and artists across Bristol have been challenging the power and presence of corporate outdoor advertising. Could Bristol follow the example of Grenoble and Sau Paulo and become the first UK city to free itself of commercial billboards imploring us to buy, spend and consume?

With Robbie from Adblock Bristol

See here for other Lunchtime Lectures at Bristol Central Library


The fight to keep Canberra ad-free

The parliament house in Canberra opened in 1927, and ten years later federal parliamentarians decided to legislate that the nation’s capital should not have any billboard advertising – presumably because it is ugly and fundamentally anti-democratic, although the reasoning behind the legislation is not recorded. Brett Phillips from the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate said “Billboards are something that’s been seen to not be in keeping with the way that [Canberra’s] been planned”. Continue reading “The fight to keep Canberra ad-free”