Estate agent boards are banned outside properties in conservation areas, but Marc Cox, sales director with Mishon Mackay, wants Brighton and Hove City Council to take radical action and extend the ban to the whole city.

Marc, who is based at the estate agency’s Hove office, said for sale, sold and to let boards spoil the look of an area and they are no longer an essential sales tool for agents.

He said: “I can remember a few years ago before the council banned boards in parts of Kemp Town, and Brunswick, the beautiful architecture was spoiled by a forest of For Sale boards.

“I know this is a contentious issue with some agents who want them and a large percentage of the public who don’t, but there are plenty of other ways to advertise properties these days; the internet has made a big difference and there is the print media, you don’t need to spoil the look of a street in order to find a buyer. Too many boards have a negative effect on a neighbourhood, and can make it look shabby and rundown.

“I can remember when my family moved down to Brighton from London and my parents would drive around looking for the boards and then they got in touch with the agents, but these days you can go to our website or one of the many other agents or specialist property websites and just type in the name of a road or area and a list will appear on your screen of properties for sale.

“You can refine your search, immediately let the agent know you are interested and then start the process. I know we use boards ourselves but if the council were to ban their use across Brighton and Hove, we would be glad to see them go. Boards are redundant!”

“With a smartphone you can stand at the end of a road and with the right app you can access a list of properties on the market that are close to where you are. I think boards served estate agents well for many years but they have had their day.

“If you haven’t got access to the internet you can pick up a property paper, and many agents, ourselves included, have extended opening hours so we are on hand to help anyone looking to buy.

“These days people are much more mobile and move house more frequently, a few years ago the odd For Sale board in a road didn’t make much difference, now you can get a cluster of boards that look hideous.

“The rules are for one post outside a property but I think even that is not necessary.”

Marc is also concerned about “pirate boards”. These appear outside blocks of flats or houses that have been converted to flats and claim to be advertising a property within the building.

He said: “It doesn’t happen very often, but we know it goes on. Nobody in the building challenges the agent because they don’t know if there really is a property in the block for sale. This type of behaviour doesn’t do the industry any favours.”

Marc still believes that boards can be effective in some places, especially country areas where properties for sale are few and far between.