Tourist traffic signs are provided to guide visitors along the most appropriate route for the final stages of their journey.

Tourist signs on motorways and trunk roads, such as the A1(M), A19(T), A64(T) and A64(T), are the responsibility of Highways England. We are responsible for tourist signs on all A, B and C class roads and most unclassified roads.

    The application fee is £165 and is non-refundable. Signs are provided at your own expense, including the cost of design, installation, and the repair or replacement signs as a result of theft, vehicle damage or general wear and tear in the future.

    Tourist signs will normally be provided:

    • If the road network to and from the tourist destination can safely accommodate the traffic likely to be generated;

    • At a maximum distance of three miles from tourist destination and usually only from the nearest A or B road, or from the nearest settlement; and
    • On a single sign bearing the details of both tourist destinations where there is more than one tourist destination approved for tourist signs at a junction.

    Tourist signs are not normally permitted if:

    • Premises are located on, and accessible from, a main A or B road and visible to passing traffic;

    • Existing signs are sufficient to guide visitors to your premises;
    • There is private advertisement sign relating to your facility;
    • The destination is part of a larger attraction which already has tourism signs;
    • The destination approach already has the maximum number of tourist destination signs; or
    • There are unauthorised direction or advertising signs to the destination.

    Frequently asked questions

    Applicants should check that their tourist destination satisfies the criteria in the following areas:

    Tourist destination

    Tourist signs applications will be assessed against location criteria which varies dependent on whether they are classed as an urban or rural location. These are defined as:

     

    Urban

    Rural

    Location description

    Vehicular access to the tourist destination is from a public highway which has a maximum speed limit set at 40 mph or below.

    Vehicular access to the tourist destination is from a public highway which has a maximum speed limit set at above 40 mph.

    Tourist attraction criteria

    Individual attractions will not normally be signed.

    Provision of signs for larger tourist attractions may be considered if a benefit in terms of traffic management and/or road safety is achieved.

    Signing may be provided if the 'quality criteria' are met.

    Tourist facilities criteria

    Individual attractions will not normally be signed.

    Provision of signs for larger tourist attractions may be considered if a benefit in terms of traffic management and/or road safety is achieved.

    Signing may be provided if the 'quality criteria' are met.

    Signs to facilities will not normally be provided in village situations, however, they may be considered if a benefit in terms of traffic management and/or road safety is achieved.

    To prevent an overload of information signs on individual junctions a maximum number of tourism signs is permitted as follows:

    • Roads with a speed limit of 30 mph or 40 mph- 3
    • Roads with a speed limit of 50 mph and above- 4
    • Where more than the maximum number of tourist traffic signs is reached at a particular junction, priority will be given to the destinations with the greatest visitor numbers

    It should not be assumed that tourist traffic signs will be provided on all suitable access routes to a tourist destination.

    Please note that eligibility under the 'quality criteria' and 'locational criteria' does not mean entitlement to signage.

    Attraction quality

    The applicant must demonstrate as part of the application that the tourist destination meets the following quality criteria:

    • All relevant consents are in place from other authorities (where applicable) e.g. appropriate planning permission, possession of a fire certificate and certificates of health and hygiene for staff involved in food preparation.
    • Parking is:
      • Safely accessible either on site, or close by (within 250m). Note: in most cases, on-street parking will not be considered an acceptable replacement for off-road parking.
      • Able to meet the requirements of visitors in terms of capacity, and to accommodate buses where necessary
      • Able to provide some secure cycle parking facilities.
    • There are adequate toilets, including facilities for disabled people, either at the destination or close by.
    • There is adequate publicity material, including a clear and accurate map and/or directions.
    • The destination generally is of good quality, well maintained and adheres to the accessibility standards suitable for its use, notably legislation relating to disabled access contained within the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
    • Tourist attractions are accredited by the 'Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Service' (VAQAS), or by another recognised national or regional organisation of this sort.
    • Tourist facilities are recognised by an appropriate body, concerned with maintaining quality standards.

    Please note that eligibility under the 'Quality Criteria' and 'Locational Criteria' does not mean entitlement to signage.

    Location of attraction

    Examples of organisations which would be acceptable are as follows:

    Attraction

    Quality assurance requirement

    Areas of special interest

    Natural England

    Beaches, picnic areas, view points

    Blue Flag Awards, Tidy Britain Awards

    Historic churches, abbeys and cathedrals

    VisitBritain

    Historic properties and castles

    National Trust, English Heritage, VAQAS

    Museums and ancient monuments

    Museum Council, English Heritage

    Park and gardens

    Royal Horticultural Society

    Theme parks

    VisitBritain, International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions

    Tourist facility

    Examples of the various schemes in operation are as follows:

    Facility

    Quality assurance requirement

    Caravan sites and Camping sites

    The following requirements must be met:

    • The site must be licensed under the 'Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960', and / or the Public Health Act 1936.
    • A minimum of 20 pitches should be available for casual overnight use.
    • The site should be accredited by a quality assurance scheme administered by the Caravan Club or The Camping and Caravanning Club.
    • A copy of licences held will be required.

    Chalets and cabins

    Must be accredited by the 'British Graded Holiday Parks Scheme' or the VisitBritain 'National Quality Assurance Scheme', and meet the English Tourist Board's quality standard for self-catering accommodation.

    Hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfast

    The establishment should be recognised by one of the following schemes:

    • The VisitBritain 'National Quality Assurance Scheme'.
    • Be accredited by the AA, RAC or similar recognised body.
    • Establishments must show they are registered under the food safety and hygiene legislation.
    • Overnight accommodation should be accredited by the English Tourist Board (VisitBritain), AA, RAC or similar recognised body.

    Theatres, cinemas and concert venues

    Member of the Arts Council

    Public houses

    The following requirements should be met:

    • Meals, and not just bar snacks, must be served at lunchtimes and evenings in a separate restaurant facility.
    • Families with children must be allowed to eat in the restaurant.
    • Establishments must show they are registered under the food safety and hygiene legislation.
    • Where overnight accommodation is offered, it should be accredited by the English Tourist Board (VisitBritain), AA, RAC or similar recognised body.

    Restaurants and cafés

    The following requirements should be met:

    • Applicants must demonstrate that they are taking steps to attract visitors from outside the local area, through promotion to the tourism market.
    • Establishments must show they are registered under the food safety and hygiene legislation.
    • There should be an a la carte menu with waiter / waitress service.
    • It shall not be open only to pre-booked visitors, but shall be open to casual callers.

    Leisure and sport facilities

    Applicants should refer to the self-assessment and improvement planning guidelines issued by Sport England.

    For road safety and environmental reasons, the messages on tourist signs are kept to a minimum:

    Often, only symbols will be used to identify facilities. Succinct naming of a destination is generally acceptable, descriptive words and phrases will not be permitted. In general, individual naming of facilities will not be permitted except for road safety or traffic management reasons.

    Example tourist signs

    touristsigns.jpg

    You should first check that your business meets the requirements of a tourist destination and eligibility criteria (see frequently asked question).

    You should then complete the  tourist destination signs application form (doc / 2 MB) and return it, along with all supporting documents, to your local highway area office for assessment. You can find contact details for your nearest area office at the back of the document.

    When you submit your completed application form, the following must also be provided:

    • Documentation confirming membership of appropriate quality assurance scheme;
    • Copies of relevant planning permissions / certificates / licences;
    • Examples of publicity material / guides for your tourist destination; and
    • Application payment fee of £159 made payable to 'North Yorkshire County Council'.

    On receipt of a fully completed application form and additional documentation required your application will proceed through the following stages:

    Stage one: Assess and inspect

    We will check if you qualify as a tourist destination and meet the eligibility criteria.

    Usually within four weeks of application

    If you meet the criteria

    Your application will proceed for consideration at stage two when we have gathered further information, this is likely to include an inspection of the site to identify signing requirements (location, size, number of already existing signs etc) and consultation with other relevant organisations e.g. national parks.

    If you do not meet the criteria

    Your application will be declined and will not be continued. You will be notified and given an explanation of the reasons for this. The county council's decision on this is final; there is no statutory right of appeal.

    Stage two: Decision and design

    A decision will be made following assessment and inspection

    Usually within seven weeks of application

    If it is approved

    Detailed design of appropriate signing will be undertaken and a letter sent to you with drawings of the proposed sign design, an estimate of cost for their provision and installation, and an agreement document.

    If it is declined

    You will be notified that your application has been declined and given an explanation of the reasons for this. The county council's decision on this is final; there is no statutory right of appeal.

    Stage three: Installation of signs

    Usually within 15 weeks of application

    If you decide to continue with your application for tourist signs, then you must confirm this by completing and returning an agreement, along with payment for the full amount of works to provide and install the signs.

    The conditions are:

    • If the facility or attraction ceases to be eligible under this policy after the signs have been erected, North Yorkshire County Council has the right to remove the signs from the highway;
    • The permitted symbols that indicate types of tourist destinations are shown in Schedule 14 of The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002. In special cases, the home traffic authority can apply for authorisation to use symbols not shown in this schedule;
    • Any applications received will be assessed for compliance against the specified quality of attraction and locational criteria. However, when considering an individual application, other organisations such as the Tourist Board will be consulted and for all applications the National Park Authority if the signing is to be placed within a National Park;
    • Once installed, any tourist traffic signs provided will become the property of North Yorkshire County Council and will be covered against any third party insurance claims, but will not be insured against theft, vehicle damage or general wear and tear. Any future costs to repair or replace signs for these reasons, will be expected to be met by the applicant. Where more than one tourist destination is indicated on a sign, then the cost of repairs or replacement will be shared equally among the operators of the destinations; and
    • North Yorkshire County Council reserves the right to remove, reposition or alter the design of any signs which may be installed, if this is thought necessary in the interests of road safety, traffic management or to accommodate other traffic signs in the vicinity.

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