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Billboards banned in historic town

A small Hérault town has retaliated against new laws that would have allowed large billboards to be put up

A SMALL town in the Hérault department has declared war on billboards.

The historic town of Lavérune, which can trace its origins back to the 1st century, has implemented a bylaw prohibiting advertising hoardings in its ancient streets.

An order preventing the putting up billboards in the heart of the town was issued by Mayor Roger Caizergues.

His ruling overturned a regulation that would have allowed large billboards – up to 12m2 – due to the fact that Lavérune, with fewer than 3,000 inhabitants, is deemed to be part of the wider urban area of Montpellier. Under previous rules 4m2 was the maximum, but larger ones are allowed in large urban areas.

“We had to react. We were receiving requests,” Mr Caizergues said. “This would be a major eyesore in the old village. We saw that it was possible to make a bylaw to ban [billboard advertising].”

The bylaw has prevented billboards being put up within 100m of any artistic and historical or picturesque buildings in Lavérune.

They include the Château de Lavérune and Château de L’Engarran, whose park and gates respectively are classed as historic monuments.

The decision has been welcomed by the Landscapes of France lobby group. Jean-Paul Rebouillat, its representative in Languedoc-Roussillon, said the rule would help improve « the tourist attractiveness of the location and visibility of businesses ».

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