INDEPENDENT businesses said they are disappointed at the lack of support for York firms after being made to take down signs.

The group of 14 businesses is addressing the challenging retail environment by putting on York Lifestyle 2013, an exhibition to promote local independent retailers, while also raising money for brain injury charity York House.

The group put up about 30 signs around the York outer ring road and at places where people are often waiting in traffic to advertise York Lifestyle 2013, which takes place on February 2 and 3.

But complaints led City of York Council to demand the signs be taken down. The traders were ordered to take them down by today or pay £75 per sign as the council would remove them.

Richard Keast, owner of Astek Garden Design, one of the exhibitors at York Lifestyle 2013, which will take place at Dean’s Garden Centre in Stockton Lane, said: “We are disappointed because we feel like local businesses in York aren’t supporting an idea that’s good for local businesses and the economy.

“It’s not for a single salesperson; it’s a joint event that’s good for businesses in York and the signs would only be up for two weeks.”

Paul Smith, managing director of Quartz Travel, which is also taking part in the exhibition said signs were often put up at the roadside to advertise all sorts of things, from village fairs, election campaigns and the York800 festivities.

“We thought it was a good way of promoting a local independent event,” he said. “Why can’t we as independent retailers for a few weeks do the same to help not only our cause but charity at the same time?”

A spokeswoman for City of York Council said it was sympathetic to the traders and understood they wanted to promote the event. However, she said putting up signs on council-owned land was flyposting and was not allowed.