Permanent signs

Schools, colleges and universities

Direction signs will not normally be provided for schools, colleges and universities. The majority of visitors to these sites are invited or they are local residents who will be aware of the location.

Special event signs may be permitted for occasions such as open days and fêtes, please refer to our temporary signage page for more information. In addition, pedestrian signs from main transport interchanges may be considered for establishments likely to attract significant numbers of students/visitors from outside the immediate area (see Pedestrian Direction Signs)

Churches & places of worship

Direction signs will not normally be provided for churches or places of worship. The majority of visitors to these sites live locally and will be aware of the location. Temporary signs may be permitted for Special events such as charity events.

Sports centres and grounds

Signs may only be approved where it can be demonstrated that the centre or ground will attract at least 100,000 visitors per year from a wide area and that there is adequate parking provision. The guidance for Tourist destinations also applies to sports centres and grounds.

Business premises

Signs to industrial and office locations may normally only be approved to industrial and trading estates where the whole estate is to be signed.

Commercial premises

Signs to commercial premises, including retail and leisure destinations will not normally be approved.
In exceptional circumstances, signs to major attractions and superstores may be provided where there is confusion over access to the store. However, such signing would be limited to a period of six months after the store's initial opening.

Signing to shopping centres will not normally be approved as their car parks are usually signed as part of the development.
However, pedestrian direction signs may be provided from major transport Interchanges (see pedestrian direction signs).

Pedestrian direction signs

The criteria for pedestrian direction signing are broadly similar to that for all other signing, but will generally only be provided in areas around major transport interchanges, local shopping centres or on designated longer distance pedestrian routes. Permitted destinations would also include council or government offices, libraries or similar public buildings.

Local heritage sites

The Council holds lists of nationally recognised parks, gardens, buildings, structures and Scheduled Ancient Monuments. A list of local buildings of architectural or historic interest has also been compiled.

Direction signing will generally only be approved if the site meets all of the following three criteria:

  • it must be included in one of the lists referred to above;
  • it must be both regularly and frequently open to the public;
  • it must not be obviously visible from a main traffic route or not easily identified.

Tourist destinations

The regulations governing the signing of tourist attractions define such a tourist destination as a permanently established destination or facility that attracts or is used by visitors to an area, and which is open to the public without prior booking during its normal opening hours.

A tourist attraction is defined as a permanent attraction or facility which: 'attracts or is used by visitors to an area and is open to the public without prior booking during its normal opening hours'.

Tourist attractions can include visitor centres, theme parks, historic buildings, museums, zoos, parks and gardens, natural attractions, areas of special interest, country tours, tourist routes, sports centres, concert venues, theatres and cinemas. In all instances, the attraction in question must be recognised by the Authority as a place of significant historical, architectural, educational, leisure or recreational interest.

Tourist facilities can include hotels, guesthouses, bed & breakfast establishments, public houses, restaurants, holiday parks, touring and camping parks, picnic sites and Tourist Information Centres.

Retail parks, shopping centres and garden centres will not generally be signed as tourist attractions, unless they have facilities or features which are of particular interest, for example, craft centres, mill shops or specialty shops.

All tourist destinations are required to:

  • have adequate parking on site or close by (any signs must direct road users to the parking facilities rather than to the destination itself)
  • have adequate toilets on site (including for people with disabilities)
  • be generally of good quality, well maintained and suitable for people with disabilities

As a general principle, owners or operators of tourist destinations applying for tourist signs are expected to advertise their establishments opening times, the location, accessibility by road and, where appropriate, public transport, through the tourist industry. This might include tourist brochures and other literature available through Tourist Information Centres, guidebooks, and leaflets or on a web site. Applicants should provide evidence of this.

It should be noted that eligibility does not confer automatic entitlement to tourist signs. Decisions on signing individual establishments will depend on local circumstances, in particular the number of similar establishments in the area.

In the case of public houses, hotels and other accommodation, the name of the facility will not normally appear on the signs, particularly where there is more than one such facility in the same vicinity. Where a facility is relatively isolated, it may be appropriate to include the name of the establishment.

Membership of a recognised scheme for maintaining quality standards is a relevant factor in the consideration of an application. It is recommended that any tourist attraction (other than sports centres, concert venues, theatres and cinemas) should be accredited by the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS) and be signed up to the Visitors' Charter.

It is also recommended that, where possible, tourist facilities should be recognised by an appropriate body concerned with maintaining quality standards. For instance hotels, guesthouses and bed & breakfast establishments should normally be recognised by the Harmonised Quality Assurance Scheme (ETC, AA, RAC) and any establishment serving food must comply with the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995 and Food Safety Act 1990. Any holiday, touring or camping park should have a reasonable number of pitches available for casual and overnight use and be accredited by the British Graded Holiday Parks Scheme.

Making an application

Applications for approval to erect permanent signage should be submitted to the Parking and Regulation Team at:

Gateshead Council
Transport and Highways
Development and Enterprise
Regent Street

The application should contain the following:

  • The name and nature of the destination to be signed;
  • The name, address and telephone number of the individual or organisation making the application;
  • A cheque for £100.00 to cover the cost of determining the application. The applicant should be aware that this advance will not be reimbursed if the application is unsuccessful.

Following notification of the decision and the cost implications, the applicant will be required to submit a further cheque to cover the cost of provision, erection and future maintenance of the signs. This cost will vary for each application and cannot be determined until the detailed design has been carried out. This work will be undertaken during the initial determination of the application. This sum must be paid in full before the instruction for work to be carried out will be issued.

Contact us

Traffic Solutions
Gateshead Council
Civic Centre
Regent Street

Phone: 0191 433 3108

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