Falling conkers warning sign branded ‘mad’

VISITORS to the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds yesterday described a sign warning of falling conkers as health and safety “gone mad”.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council placed the sign on a horse chestnut tree by the Abbey Gate following complaints from visitors who were hit by the falling seeds, including a man who suffered a slight graze on his head.

The story, which was broken by the East Anglian Daily Times, has been amusing residents, with many branding the sign on the tree as “madness” and “ridiculous”.

Joan Cooke, of Winthrop Road Bury, said: “I think that’s absolutely ridicuous, to be honest.”

She added: “It’s all sorts of things now. It’s the same with bell-ringing – you get people moving into villages and complaining the bells are ringing.”

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Roger Cornell, 45, from Halstead, and who captured the sign on his mobile phone, said: “It’s madness. It’s a sign of the times, I’m afraid.”

Samantha Miller, 23, of Petticoat Lane, Barrow, said she would probably still let her children play underneath. “It’s just a conker tree, but I suppose they have put it there to cover themselves in case anyone does get hurt.”

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Tom Higdon, who was visiting from Seattle, added: “I think it probably takes a little bit away from the atmosphere.”

The EADT website has been flooded with comments about the story. One read: “For goodness sake, have people become so cushioned from real life now that this sort of thing is becoming acceptable?

“It’s a tree. Will we soon have notices on apple, pear and plum trees too?”

Another said: “Whatever next? Warning notices inside everyone’s front door saying ‘don’t go outside, you might be hit by bird poo?’” A spokeswoman for the borough council said there had been three complaints, adding it was likely the sign would stay up until the conkers were down.

Visitors had requested the notice be placed there, the council had said.

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