Unauthorised Signs

The erection or placement of structures, devices or articles including cars, station wagons, panels vans, caravans,  trailers  and vehicle-mounted fixed or variable message signs displaying advertising material on public or  private land for the primary purpose of advertising or promotion,  constitutes development activity.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 ('the Act') provides that it is an offence to carry out development other than in accordance with a development consent. Penalties for this offence can be up to $1,100,000.

Council maintains that unauthorised structures, devices or articles including parked vehicles, whether for sale or not, placed on public roads for the primary purpose of advertising can create a hazardous distraction to drivers and potentially an obstruction to traffic and pedestrians. In some cases they can also cause damage to public infrastructure. Council generally does not grant consent for the placement of such items on public roads or land other than private land for such purposes. Traffic warning signs erected by Council or other public authorities are exempt from this requirement.

Council officers regularly conduct patrols including out of normal business hours and may initiate legal proceedings for any detected breaches including the issuing of $3000 penalty infringement notices in accordance with the Act. Enforcement action in relation to such matters is often taken after a caution has been issued and time for compliance has been provided, however, where such signs involve risks to public safety or have a significant impact on the public or the environment, legal proceedings may be commenced without warning.

Section 7.09 of the Newcastle Development Control Plan 2012 outlines requirements for the design of advertising signs and structures, including signage for home occupations as well as business in commercial and industrial areas.

Council recommends alternative event, product or business promotion by using:

  • Newspaper advertising
  • Websites
  • Noticeboards
  • The inside of shop windows with the shop owner’s approval
  • Council’s approved bill poster poles
  • Approved signs at the event venue.

To report unauthorised signs contact Council's Customer Enquiry Centre on 02 4974 2000 or mail@ncc.nsw.gov.au.