Council chiefs take down cancer banner

A CANCER awareness banner was pulled down by “over-zealous” council chiefs following safety fears that the advertisement could damage an ornate lamppost.

A CANCER awareness banner was pulled down by “over-zealous” council chiefs following safety fears that the advertisement could damage an ornate lamppost.

Officials at Macmillan Cancer Relief last night said the banner - marking bowel cancer awareness week - was taken down in the centre of Bury St Edmunds.

The controversy echoed similar scenes in the town when award-winning hanging baskets had to be removed from lampposts in case they fell on the heads of shoppers.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council , which made the decision to take the banner down, said there had been fears over the way the advertisement hung from the post and also problems with a licensing application for the sign.


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The problems begun when an officer from St Edmundsbury Borough Council spotted the banner hanging from the 19th Century lamppost.

Members of Suffolk Fire Service were then called to remove the “Proud to be Loud” banner, which was raising awareness and funds for beating bowel cancer.

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Borough and town councillor David Nettleton said: “It sounds like an over-zealous official approach and a more flexible approach might have been useful but if it is unsafe it probably needed to go. If it is advertising a worthy cause we should find another place for it.”

The 12ft by 5ft vinyl banner was hung from a lamppost outside Moyses Hall museum as part of a joint initiative of the West Suffolk Macmillan Cancer Information Centre, at West Suffolk Hospital, and Suffolk West Primary Care Trust (PCT).

Jan Brittain information services manger for Macmillan Cancer Relief said: “We were told it is a very ornate and important lamppost and the banner might damage it.

“We thought we had negotiated with the proper authorities to hang a banner from a lamppost. But the banner turned out to be different than we expected, hanging down from the post rather than around it.

“We were told this meant there were problems as it wasn't attached at the bottom like it should. The banner went missing for six hours after we put it up - I think the fire brigade was called to take it down.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council conceded there had also been a mix-up with the licensing of the banner because the charity had put the sign up before the license had come into effect.

“At the county council we support Macmillan Cancer Relief but there seems to have been a misunderstanding with the banner,” a spokesman said.

“If the organisation would like to get in touch we will get the details sorted out properly and put their banner up as soon as possible.”

In 2004 the county council was heavily criticised for stringent regulation of lamppost hanging baskets, which caused outrage in Bury.

Dozens of lampposts remained bare during the summer when the town regularly challenges for the top prizes in Britain in Bloom competition.

The council banned baskets because of safety concerns that the floral displays would fall on passers-by.

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