‘Your Tour de France bunting could bend our lamp-posts!’

The bunting in Masham
The bunting in Masham
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When the residents of Masham came together earlier this year to knit Tour de France bunting for the Grand Depart weekend they thought they would be creating a wonderful momento for the weekend.

However, health and safety bosses have removed the bunting to be removed from lamp posts, arguing that if the wool gets wet in the rain it will bend the steel street lights.

Residents of the Yorkshire Dales market town of Masham, including the local Women’s Institute, spent months knitting the hand-sized woollen jerseys in Tour livery of yellow, green and white with red dots.

Their efforts went into a central Yorkshire pot of 23,000 jumpers ‎and Masham was given 40 metres of the bunting to hang from half a dozen 20ft tall lamp posts in the marker square.

The bunting has been up for a month in all weathers but Harrogate Council workers with ‎a cherry picker removed it under orders from North Yorkshire County Council.

Resident Tessa Klemz said: “It’s health and safety gone bananas. We have not seen any bending at all and we have had more than our share of rain.”

‎A Harrogate Council spokesman said:‎ “In the interest of safety, Harrogate Borough Council removed the bunting.”

Meanwhile ancient laws have been set aside to make sure the Tour de France Grand Depart goes off without a hitch next month.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has pushed through measures to ensure that plans to use parts of the Stray, in Harrogate, do not contravene a series of laws dating back to 1770 which cover the management of the area.

To do so required the first use of part of a law passed three years ago designed to give councils more freedoms.

Mr Pickles, a former leader of Bradford Council, said: “As a proud Yorkshireman, I couldn’t be more delighted to welcome Le Grand Départ of the Tour de France to God’s Own County. The Government has done its bit to help Harrogate bring the world’s greatest cycle race to these shores.

“This will bring lasting benefits to Harrogate and using this Localism power for the first time ever will ensure the event is a success and the land is looked after and returned to its original state afterwards.”

The first stage of the Tour is due to finish in Harrogate on July 5 and the riders will pass through the town again on stage two the following day.

Harrogate Council leader Richard Cooper said: “The Tour de France coming to the Harrogate district is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and excitement is mounting daily.

“We are grateful for the support shown by the Government and local MPs to help make this a reality and for allowing us to make the most of the economic benefits it will bring, not just to Yorkshire but to the country as a whole.”