Basket-case rules ban on Filby flowers
The award-winning village of Filby, near Yarmouth, has become the latest victim of stringent health and safety rules after being told it can no longer decorate lamp posts with hanging baskets.
Its beautiful blooms and colourful floral displays have delighted visitors for the last 12 years.
But now the award-winning village of Filby, near Yarmouth, has become the latest victim of stringent health and safety rules after being told it can no longer decorate lamp posts with hanging baskets.
Organisers of the successful Filby in Bloom event have been told by Yarmouth Borough Council they can not put flower filled baskets on about 60 lamp posts because the old off-street lighting columns could fall over because of the added weight.
The council fears that if a crumbling lamp post toppled over and injured or killed someone, the authority could be sued for negligence.
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But last night other councils in East Anglia said they have no concerns about the issue.
The Suffolk town of Bury St Edmunds made world wide news in 2004 after reports that the town had banned hanging baskets but even St Edmundsbury Borough Council now says it has no worries about the temporary features.
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And Filby in Bloom, which has clinched the title of East Anglian's best kept village for the last 10 years, was informed that when its lamp posts are replaced in two years' time they may have to provide £9,000 to make sure the structures can hold the 20 kg baskets.
Although Filby is making alternative plans for road side displays - including two floral Viking ships - in time for this summer's Britain in Bloom awards, the unwelcome news has caused consternation in the village.
Adrian Thompson, chairman of Filby in Bloom, said: “We are disappointed by this news and it may have an affect on the judges.
“In the last 12 years we never had a health and safety issue over the lamp posts. The only problem we have had is when a yob pulled one down.”
The Filby fallout follows a council survey of its off-street lamp posts which revealed that 15 per cent of the borough's lighting columns are in a dire state and must be replaced because they pose a risk to the public.
Mr Thompson said: “The borough council has used us time and time again to promote itself and has virtually given us nothing over the last 12 years.
“I think it is just not on for them to ask us to spend £9,000 to upgrade any new lamp posts to make them suitable for baskets.”
Simon Mutten, borough council's environmental services manager, said: “A risk has been bought to our attention by professionals and we can not ignore it because if we did and something, however unlikely happened, then we would be taken to the cleaners.”
North Norfolk District, King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough, South Norfolk District and Norwich City councils all said that lamp posts were regularly inspected but no problems about hanging baskets had been reported so far.
Other district councils said it was the responsibility of county, town and parish councils to maintain lamp posts in their areas.