Fight to save gnomes goes on after Norwich City Council orders removal of items from gardens

Some of the character figures in the gardens around the flats in Southwell Road, which may have to b

Some of the character figures in the gardens around the flats in Southwell Road, which may have to be removed as the council are concerned about trip hazards. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

They might just be a few inches high - but a council has decreed that humble garden gnomes should be removed from the gardens of a city road due to safety concerns.

Hana Dynowski, four, and her brother Wojciech, seven, with their dad, Marek, are upset that they hav

Hana Dynowski, four, and her brother Wojciech, seven, with their dad, Marek, are upset that they have been told their walled garden they believed was private at their flat in Southwell Road is communal, and that they must clear it of toys, the trampoline and trip hazards. With them are other residents affected, from left, Sally and John Chewter, Elinor Close, David King, and Francene Mayes, and Simon Harrison. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A shed, a coffee mug and a fence are just some of the other items Norwich City Council also wants to see gone from the gardens in Southwell Road, Lakenham for fear they could be 'trip hazards'.

One householder has called the decision - which left some children in tears after being told their trampoline was on the list - 'utter nonsense', but an insurance manage has said the local authority is right to raise the concerns,

Norwich City Council has said it cannot comment on specific cases.

MORE: Lakenham siblings brought to tears after Norwich City Council order removal of garden trampolineResidents of the block of flats received the letter on May 12 with a list of offending items and told they had just 14 days to dispose of them.

Some of the character figures in the gardens around the flats in Southwell Road, which may have to b

Some of the character figures in the gardens around the flats in Southwell Road, which may have to be removed as the council are concerned about trip hazards. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

One resident John Chewter, 65, claimed some of the possessions on the list were 'hilarious' and there was no way you could trip over them.

'I don't know how you can trip over a shed unless you are a giant. It is utter nonsense,' he said. 'There is a ramp up to one of the properties which is about 4ft wide and there is a gap on one side of it.

'It wouldn't take a lot for someone to twist their ankle on the edge of it, so I would say there is more chance of someone tripping on that than a couple of garden gnomes at the back of a fenced garden.'

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But an insurance manager said the council was right to raise their concerns with residents if the areas are now communal.

The garden area at the flats in Southwell Road, with the front area being communal, and the walled i

The garden area at the flats in Southwell Road, with the front area being communal, and the walled in gardens next to the building which the residents have understood to be private, but now have been notified as also being communal and to be cleared of toys and trip hazards. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

'I have never heard of anything like this before but the council are right,' said Peter Anderson, of Drayton Insurance Services.

'Even if some people are not meant to be in the gardens in the first place, if a person hurts themselves they can sue the council.'

Ash Haynes, a city councillor for Town Close, suggested the council should look at situations like this on a case by case basis.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council confirmed it has invited residents to discuss the situation later this week.

The garden area at the flats in Southwell Road, with the area near the road being communal, and the

The garden area at the flats in Southwell Road, with the area near the road being communal, and the walled in gardens next to the building the residents have understood to be private, but now have been notified as also being communal and to be cleared of toys, such as the children's trampoline, and trip hazards. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Items banned by council

Over the years Norwich City Council has been met with criticism over decisions made due to health and safety concerns.

In 2001 officers were so worried about children being knocked down while gathering concerns that they decided to chop down horse chestnut trees.

Protests from families and a Norwich Evening News petition led to a U-turn.

The same year, people living in Normandie Tower in Rouen Road were told to take down their window boxes in case they fell on someone. That was reversed after public outcry.

Also in 2001, the council banned the use of bouncy castles on its land, because of the risk it could be sued if someone was injured.

In 2014 a florist as told the pots around her Devonshire Street home were a fire hazard, before a council change of heart.

And Margaret Jowsey was ordered to remove a washing line in a communal area which was deemed to be a fire hazard.

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