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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 February, 2004, 11:12 GMT
Town bans hanging baskets
Summer in Bury St Edmunds
The baskets could be too heavy for the town's old lampposts
A group of flower enthusiasts has been hit with a ban on some hanging baskets after fears they posed a public risk.

For almost two decades hanging baskets have been a part of Bury St Edmunds' summer floral displays.

But this year they will be absent from the Suffolk town after the council ruled there was a risk they could fall from lampposts and injure the public.

The council felt the town's lampposts could not cope with the added weight of the pots of soil and could break.

The decision has angered the Bury in Bloom committee which prepares the flower displays for entry into the regional and national in Bloom competitions.

Pointless ban

Last year Bury St Edmunds was the winner of best large town in the regional Anglia in Bloom event.

Michael Ames, chairman of the group, said the ban by Suffolk County Council was pointless.

"They are guarding their own backs over health and safety," he said.

"But no-one has been hurt - certainly not in Bury St Edmunds, certainly not in Suffolk."

Mr Ames said his group had bowed to the council's demands in 2003 to make the baskets smaller.

Safety hazard

But after this year's stock were weighed, filled with soil and water, the council decided they should be banned altogether on some lampposts.

"This will have a knock-on effect for our floral campaign during the summer months," said Mr Ames.

Guy Smith, assistant highways manager for the county council, said they just wanted to ensure the safety of the public as some baskets were quite heavy.

The council felt they could present a safety hazard on some of the older lampposts.

"We have to be satisfied that the columns are strong and stable enough to take the weight," he said.

The BBC's George Eykyn
"Organisers say the council's line is one pansy short of a posy"

Michael Ames, chairman of Bury in Bloom
"The ban will have a knock-on effect for our floral campaign"

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