Council that went potty over floral health and safety issue backtracks

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Gardeners who were told health and safety concerns may mean they had to remove hundreds of pots and planters have won a victory over a council.

Residents in Rockcliffe Avenue, Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, spent thousands of pounds on sprucing up the pedestrianised street in front of their attractive terrace, making it into a haven for wildlife and popular with local nursery children.

But North Tyneside Council said the hundreds of blooms may have to be removed amid fears they could cause a hazard – despite the same local authority handing residents an “In Bloom” award last year.

Resident Mike Kelley raised a petition against the threat and the story was picked up nationally and internationally.

Now the council has backtracked, saying it hopes other residents will follow suit. And once again, the residents of Rockcliffe Avenue have won a North Tyneside In Bloom award this year.

Mr Kelley, a former Royal Marine who runs a CV writing business, said: “It was definitely worth the battle. Everyone in the street is over the moon. We are seeing planters going up elsewhere. We could turn Whitley Bay into a flower haven, which is fantastic.”

A council spokeswoman said: “In recognition that the colourful pots were well established the council agreed that the current pots would not be removed while a new scheme was confirmed to meet the highway access requirements.”