Les Sables-d’Olonne Vendee. Spotlight on Advertising, Signs and Visual Presence

On May 2, 2022, in City Council, a debate took place on

The land development projects of the Agglomeration aim to be based on a balance, with on the one hand protection of the living environment and landscapes, while preserving freedom of expression on the other.
It is thus a question of finding a balance between the objectives of preserving landscapes, whether natural or built, urban, peri-urban or rural, and the living environment and the objectives of economic development of the territories by guaranteeing the right expression and dissemination of information.

Impact of brands, RLP and consideration of local specificities
Advertisements, signs and pre-signs have an impact on the landscape and, as such, these devices are subject to national regulations protecting the environment and the living environment.
the Local Advertising Regulations is a management tool for advertising, signs and pre-signs adapted to local specificities.
It makes it possible to identify the landscape sensitivity of the various sites of the territory and thus to adapt the national regulations as regards outdoor advertising to the local stakes and to the reality of the territories.

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Deliberation of the Agglo des Sables d’Olonne
The Community Council of Les Sables d’Olonne Agglomeration prescribed, by deliberation n°253 of January 31, 2020, the development of a Local Intermunicipal Advertising Regulation (RLPi) covering the whole of its territory, and has set the following objectives:
– Preserve economic and commercial attractiveness throughout the territory while ensuring that outdoor communication and billboard advertising are not factors in the deterioration of the living environment and the landscape;
– Dealing with city entrances to better control advertising and signs at city entrances;
– Appropriate the objectives of the law in order to harmonize them with the challenges of the territory of Les Sables d’Olonne Agglomeration while preserving the living environment;
– Harmonize local regulations throughout the intermunicipal territory to strengthen its identity;
– Create a zoning adapted to the intermunicipal territory which will make it possible to identify the zones within which advertising will be more supervised and better adjusted to the surrounding environment, in particular in order to preserve the natural and urban spaces of the territory;
– Allow in protected urban sectors to relax the regulations in order to promote the advertising expression necessary for the animation of local life, the support of tourist development and the needs of the community in terms of display on furniture urban ;
– Support the reflections undertaken in the context of the development of the PLUi;
– Take into account new types of advertising devices such as tarpaulins, micro-displays, digital advertisements.

The RLPi must make it possible to find the right balance between the desire to promote local economic growth by allowing companies to stand out and the concern to enhance and preserve the living environment.
With this objective, it participates in ensuring visibility and enhancement of all economic, tourist and cultural players, particularly local shops, while ensuring that the quality of the commercial landscape is perfectly integrated into the environment.
It defines specific areas according to their urban characteristics and with regard to landscape, architectural and heritage issues, taking into account the following entities:
– the natural, forest, agricultural heritage, hydrographic network,
– built heritage and protected sites,
– the center of the communes and the poles of attraction,
– structuring roads and entrances to agglomerations or towns, – areas of economic and commercial activity.

Diagnosis and consultation
With a view to drafting the RLPi, a diagnosis was carried out throughout the territory and brought to the attention of the public, associated public persons, associations for the protection of the environment and landscapes, display professionals and economic players during consultation meetings that took place in November 2021.
As planned, presentations and debates took place in the Community and Municipal Councils.

567 advertisements were identified across the country:
– 245 on street furniture,
– 222 panels sealed on the ground
– and 100 on walls or fences.

This represents approximately 2,100 m2 of display, and the advertisements are mainly present on Les Sables d’Olonne, the main axes and town entrances.

– And around 1,400 signs (including 1,142 parallel to the wall, 111 fixed to the ground, 72 perpendicular to the wall, 55 on the fence and 20 on the roof or terrace).

Non conformities:
– Among these billboards, 138 are non-compliant (mainly billboards installed outside urban areas, panels sealed to the ground in retro-coastal municipalities and billboards on walls of more than 4 m2);
– Among the signs, 140 are non-compliant (too large sizes and not made in cut-out letters, too many signs on the same facade, more than one sign of more than 1 m2 per lane bordering the business).

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The following findings emerge from this diagnosis for advertisements
– Advertisements and pre-signs sealed on the ground or installed directly on the ground are already governed by the existing RLP, a few infringements have been noted (in particular panels installed outside built-up areas), improvements are possible by redefining the advertising formats and the rule density;
– Few advertisements and pre-signs on walls and fences, all the same some landscaping problems related to their number (duplicate), problem of accumulation and/or their sometimes large surface (+ 4 m2);
– Few problems with the density of advertisements and pre-signs sealed to the ground, but rather problems with accumulation;
– Illuminated advertisements mainly illuminated by projection and the presence of a few digital devices;

The following findings emerge from this diagnosis for the brands
– Good overall quality of the signs on the facade, particularly in the historic center of Les Sables d’Olonne thanks to the local rules of the RLPi and the collaboration of the ABF;
– Possible improvements in the insertion and the composition (no installation beyond the walls of the activity, concordance with the built heritage, durable qualitative materials), (cut letters, in concordance with the built heritage) but also the number and format (mainly perpendicular signs);
– Accumulated installation of signs sealed on the ground, sometimes in large format and unauthorized occupation of the public domain, posing accessibility problems;
– Presence of signs on fences almost exclusively in business areas with some landscaping problems related to their number and/or their sometimes large surface area and the redundancy of the message with the other signs present;
– Scarcity of signs on the roof but nevertheless significant impact on landscape perspectives and problems of composition;
– Little nocturnal extinction of devices and scarcity of digital media, yet in increasing numbers and with a very impacting luminosity because it diffuses and sometimes shifts.

General guidelines for the future RLPI
Given the issues arising from the territorial diagnosis carried out, it was agreed to continue the development of the RLPi according to the following general guidelines:
– Orientation 1: Preserve the natural and landscape wealth of Les Sables d’Olonne Agglomeration as well as the living environment of users;
– Orientation 2: Protect the built heritage;
– Orientation 3: Improve the readability and attractiveness of activities, particularly related to tourism and Trade;

– Orientation 4: Fight against the trivialization of landscapes by allowing qualitative advertising and low impact;
– Orientation 5: Supervise the development of light signaling.

These guidelines will then be broken down into regulations through the definition of the zoning plan and the associated regulations concerning advertising and pre-signs on the one hand, and signs on the other.

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Provisional schedule
– Debate on orientations in Community Council and Municipal Councils: May 2022
– Consultation with economic players, billboard professionals, associated public persons, the public: May-June 2022
– Project termination: September-October 2022
– Administrative phase – Public inquiry: fall 2022
– Approval of the RLPi project: 1st half of 2023

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Les Sables-d’Olonne Vendee. Spotlight on Advertising, Signs and Visual Presence

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