Pensioner's hanging baskets branded a safety hazard
Published 09/08/2010 | 15:29
A pensioner has been ordered to remove a set of hanging baskets from her local market square after council bosses warned that people could bump their heads on them.
Linda Martin, 68, had hung the floral displays around the centre of Wilton, Wiltshire, in an attempt to brighten up the area.
But she was told they must be removed as they breached health and safety rules.
Officials were concerned that shoppers could bump their heads as they passed under them.
The ruling followed an earlier dictat which banned the grandmother from placing floral displays on the ground in case pedestrians tripped over them.
Mrs Martin, who insisted she had only been trying to improve her local community, said she was at the end of her tether.
She first began placing floral displays in tubs on the ground in the centre of Wilton, the ancient capital of Wessex, 12 years ago after deciding the market square needed brightening up.
Paying for the flowers out of her own pocket she said she received many compliments from locals and visitors.
But she was forced to remove them after health and safety bosses at Wiltshire County Council said they posed a hazard and could cause people to trip.
Mrs Martin then came up with the idea of hanging the baskets from trees around the market square.
But she has now been told then pose a danger to pedestrians and could damage the trees.
Mrs Martin has insisted the baskets are quite safe and accused the council of being petty minded.
The former town councillor said: “I am desperately upset by it. This is a slap across the face. I am supporting David Cameron's Big Society Plan - I am just trying to improve my community.”
Wilton Town Councillor Peter Edge said: “It goes to show how petty minded Wiltshire Council is. The hanging baskets enhanced this wonderful town. Wiltshire Council was alleging they were a danger – claiming they may fall off the trees and hit someone.
“But they were no danger - they have been there since the beginning of June and there have been no accidents. She had tied them safely to the trees with wire. She would have pulled them down at the end of the summer anyway.
“I am extremely disappointed. We were trying to liven up the ancient capital of Wessex with an enhancing floral display."
But a spokesman for Wiltshire Council said the baskets had been placed at head height and could pose a danger to pedestrians especially those who were partially sighted.
The spokesman added: “The hanging baskets are extremely heavy, too low and are displaying unauthorised advertising. As such we have requested their removal. They are liable to damage the young trees they are hanging from.”