IT's a long-running issue. How to publicise the usually independent businesses on the side streets of Winchester?

For decades the High Street has been dominated by national chains, starting with M&S and WH Smith in the 1930s.

The scores of independent shops are tucked away on side streets such as Parchment and Upper Brook Street but keen to promote their wares.

For many years several have placed advertising boards on the High Street but the city council is not keen, arguing they present an obstacle and potential hazard to the blind and disabled.

The Winchester Business Improvement District has erected three new information boards.

Former city councillor Ian Tait, an independent candidate in last week's city council elections, told the Chronicle: "I spent a little time watching people walking past each of them and sadly I don’t think they have had any effect, there is too much detail and the lettering is too small . As they are all positioned close to walls, they are only observable from one direction and I just don’t think they will have any noticeable effect.

"Having come from a family of shop keepers in Parchment Street I know only too well the difficulties of getting people out of the High Street but these new information boards aren’t the answer sadly”.