Council orders removal of fan flags
Published 21/05/2010 | 09:26
A council ordered an England football fan to remove St George's flags from a communal area outside his flat for health and safety reasons.
Supermarket worker Karl Staples, 20, put up the flags, bunting and balloons in support of the team, who are taking part in the World Cup, which starts next month in South Africa.
He said he was told to take them down on Thursday by wardens at the council flats in Southampton and he branded the decision "ridiculous".
"I am a big England fan so I thought I would put them up to support the boys, then I got told to take them down," he told the Southern Daily Echo.
"They said they had one complaint, apparently. I have knocked on doors and no one has complained - it's ridiculous really."
Southampton City Council said it was an issue of health and safety because the flags and bunting were on a communal part of the balcony.
"We are supportive of any resident showing their support for the team. We would encourage people to fly the flag of St George," a spokesman explained.
"In council residential buildings, if people wish to fly flags from their windows or put flags up on the inside of their buildings we have no problems.
"Like every local authority in the country, we ask that shared communal halls and the sides of buildings need to be kept clear throughout the year of objects, signs, posters and flags. It important to keep communal areas free from flammable objects."
In February this year, taxi drivers in Southampton were threatened with having their licences suspended by the city council if they did not remove St George's Cross stickers and the slogan "English-speaking driver" from their cabs.