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Historic Battambang town bans billboards

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A street in Battambang town where the authorities required the owner to take down their billboards in July. CAMBODIAN BACKPACKER

Historic Battambang town bans billboards

The Battambang town administration informed all house and business owners in Svay Por commune to remove all billboards by August 1 as it is preparing to submit the town to UNESCO for inclusion on its historical cultural heritage list.

Its July 25 notice said all signage was to be removed to strengthen public safety and order, as well as to improve the appearance of the town. The decision was related to a July 13 meeting, held to discuss preserving the beauty of the heritage neighbourhoods of the town.

The notice was addressed to building owners along street numbers 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3 – and their cross streets – between Wat Pipithearam and Wat Damrei Sor in the commune. They were ordered to remove all signage that did not meet the administration’s guidelines.

“If a home or business owner does not comply, the administration will dismantle the signage, and accept no responsibility for damage to the property. Fines may also be levied,” it said.

“The town administration trusts that the public will comply with this notice and cooperate to improve the beauty and environment of our town,” it added.

Song Soeng, director of the town’s Public Relations Office, said some residents had voluntarily removed their billboards already.

“The administration has issued this instruction to prepare the area for inclusion in the historical cultural heritage list of UNESCO,” he said.

He said the cooperation of the public is key to preserving the cultural heritage of the old town, which helps attract tourists.

Provincial coordinator for rights group ADHOC Yin Mengly applauded the measures, suggesting that people cooperate with the authorities. Svay Por district was a beautiful part of the town with many old buildings, and should be preserved.

“Business owners in this area are very competitive in doing business, and have added very large awning extensions and billboards to promote their goods and services. I support the administration’s plan. The town features some of the best examples of French colonial architecture in the Kingdom, so we should take care of them,” he said.

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