Planning rules and regulations are there for a purpose and without such rules there could be even more ugly buildings in our towns and cities. But sometimes you have to wonder at the stupid 'rules is rules' mentality that some local government employees delight in implementing.

Such is the case with two councils in the East Midlands. The first was the order by Lincoln City Council that all A boards, advertising local business in a pedestrianised area had to be removed as they were firstly illegal and secondly were a health and safety risk. People might be injured walking into these boards.

Okay yes they are put out on a pavement and yes many of them had not had permission but a health and safety risk? Really? Well on the same road can be seen other dangerous pieces of street furniture, seats, waste paper bins, street lamp, a post box and the real danger planters and hanging baskets. The people walking around the area are managing to do so without walking into bins and seats and surely they can negotiate the A boards? The council reports that it is hard for guide dogs, well guide dogs are very good at negotiating obstacles. They regularly steer their owner safely past market stalls, parked cars on pavements and other obstacles.

Another strange jobs worth rule came from North East Lincolnshire Council who have decided that in the pretty small market town of Brigg, the shops on the main shopping streets have illegal shop signs and must apply for retrospective planning permission.

These signs have been in place for 10 years and no one has complained about them at all. The council is therefore charging small business £100 + to apply for permission for a sign that is 10 years old and if the permission is refused then they have to remove the sign at again a cost to the business. Why is it that the powers that be can suddenly decide that they need to play God?

At a time when the small independent business is the way forward for many people, all the local council is doing is stamping on them. To them rules is rules! Come on council have you never heard of common sense?