Petersfield is celebrating after being awarded European Centre of Signage status for 2012.
The prestigious award follows a vigorous vetting procedure which saw the east Hampshire town lauded for its “lack of regulation” and “diversity”.
The chairman of the EU panel of international judges, Bill Board, explained: “Petersfield was the stand-out candidate. Too often in large cities, where there is an abundance of regulated hoardings the focus is on big corporations and legitimate, paid-for advertising and the close proximity of golf sales.
“But Petersfield manages to be a smorgasbord of unregulated signage, from bright yellow notices of forthcoming comedy nights to posters in a cleverly designed childish form advertising bonfire nights. And they’re not just limited to one area – these notices are all over town, ranging from A4 notices attached to lamposts to six-foot posters nailed to bits of plywood and tied to roadside trees.
“It was this diversity, lack of regulation and complete disregard for aesthetics and the safety of road users which appealed to the judging panel. That’s why it was placed ahead of Tromsø, in Norway, and the small French village of Beaucoups de Trivialities, just north of Ridicules.”
A spokesman for Petersfield Town Council, Bobby Bear, was able to provide further details of the panel’s findings.
He said: “The judges made comment about the diversity of our signage and picked out for special mention the seasonal Petersfield Town Juniors six-a-side signs – described as ‘plentiful and effective’; the ubiquitous ‘Hot Tub Sale’ notice – ‘hugely informative’; the Winton Players’ series – ‘just made us want to go and buy a ticket’; and the ‘hilarious’ no parking at any time notices in the High Street, which ‘showed a satirical and contemporary sense of humour, largely lacking in other conurbations’.
“We are delighted to win such a prestigious award and you can guarantee somebody will produce a handwritten bill in celebration and staple it to a telegraph pole near you soon.”