New charges being levied on community groups in Sheffield wanting to borrow ‘road closed’ signs could kill off events, it has been warned.
Banner Cross Neighbourhood Group approached Amey asking for the signs before the Banner Cross Festival earlier this month.
In previous years organisers had picked them up from the council’s Olive Grove depot and returned them free of charge. But this year, Amey, which has taken over the council’s highways department, said it would have to deliver the signs and collect them afterwards - for a £50 fee.
Viv Lockwood, secretary of Banner Cross Neighbourhood Group, said: “This charge is a nail in the coffin for events like ours and all those other community activities which do not aim to make a profit and work on a financial shoestring.
“A few of our members organise summer events, like street parties, which include closing roads for a few hours.”
He added: “If other community groups are thinking of doing this, they may be interested to know about our experience.
“On the day before the festival we used to go to Olive Grove to collect the signs and cones, and take them back the following Monday, all at no charge.”
Mr Lockwood said his group finally avoided Amey’s fee - by salvaging abandoned signs and cones from country lanes around Sheffield and the Peak District.
An Amey spokeswoman said: “We took the difficult decision to charge a nominal £50 fee.
“Olive Grove is an operational depot with lots of equipment, vehicles and activity on site. It is not suitable for people who are not aware of safety regulations to be calling to collect items.
“We decided the only practical alternative was to deliver and collect equipment. The £50 fee goes some way towards covering costs.”