Canaries fan from King’s Lynn threatened with �2,500 fine for flying a Norwich City flag in his back garden.

On the ball, City - never mind Section 224 of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act. That's the song Canaries fan Matt Houchen's singing, after a scrimmage with his local council over a Norwich City flag in his back garden.

Carrow Road regular Mr Houchen, 32, nailed his colours to the mast outside his home in Seaman Drive, King's Lynn, after buying the �9.99 flag in the club shop last season.

But last week he received a letter from the development and regulation department at West Norfolk council, threatening him with a �2,500 fine.

'Under Section 224 of the Town and Country planning Act 1990 it is an offence to display an advertisement without specific consent, not only by those erecting them or causing them to be erected, but also by any person whose trade, business or other concern is given publicity by the advertisement,' it warned.

'On summary conviction, a fine of �2,500 with an additional daily fine of one-tenth of the maximum penalty on conviction of a continuing offence can be imposed for each unauthorised advertisement displayed.


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'Please remove the contravening advertisement and the pole used to display it before 25th November 2011, when authorised officers will re-visit the site and a decision to instigate legal proceedings will be reconsidered.'

Last night father-of-three Mr Houchen, who works as a printer, said: 'I couldn't believe it when my wife Gemma opened it. I said you've got to be joking.

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'It's a scaffold pole with a flag on the end. I do a bit of leaflet dropping and I've seen quite a few around King's Lynn.

'My mate's got a Man Utd one in his garden, he gave me the idea.'

Mr Houchen admitted the flag was looking a little tatty, after 12 months of proclaiming his support for his favourite team in all weathers.

But he said he intended to apply for restrospective planning permission to display the flag - and if he was successful would be replacing it.

'It's a bit minging, it's a bit of an eyesore,' he admitted. 'They've given me a deadline of the 25th to remove it, I'm going to say I don't think it's fair, it's not doing any harm.'

West Norfolk council was adamant rules were rules and Mr Houchen's yellow card would stand.

'We've received a complaint from a member of the public,' a spokesman said. 'Because it's a Norwich City flag, it's an advert, so it requires planning permission as does the pole. There's guidance on it. It's quite specific.'

Mr Houchen said he doesn't know who complained - or why they waited a year. Is there an Ipswich fan in Seaman Drive (named after a member of the nautical profession, as opposed to the former Arsenal and England goalkeeper David).

Or was he dobbed in by a Liverpool supporter smarting from Grant Holt's equaliser at Anfield the Saturday before..?

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