Hanging baskets could be allowed to stay

A HAPPY ending could be in store for the organisers of one of Suffolk's biggest floral competitions after being told baskets of flowers may not be banned from hanging on town centre lampposts.

A HAPPY ending could be in store for the organisers of one of Suffolk's biggest floral competitions after being told baskets of flowers may not be banned from hanging on town centre lampposts.

It had been feared that hanging baskets in Bury St Edmunds might be banned from lampposts in case they fall on people's heads.

Suffolk County Council warned that metal lampposts might crack under the strain of the 46lb baskets. They were worried the floral displays might lead to compensation claims if they fall and injure passers by.

But this week the chairman of the annual Bury in Bloom competition, Mike Ames, was given a glimmer of hope at an annual general meeting of the Britain in Bloom regional co-ordinators.


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Mr Ames said: "The issue of the hanging baskets was addressed at the meeting and we were told that although the authorities are aware of the regulations, it is up to the individual as to how they interpret them, and there has been no problem with similar situations in other parts of the country.

"Positive liaisons have taken place between the borough and county councils regarding the lampposts, and at this moment in time I am very hopeful that the competition will be able to go ahead with the hanging baskets in place."

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A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said experts were working to try and locate any dangerous posts and the council is hopeful they can be replaced in time for this year's hanging baskets to be hung from them as usual.

She said the baskets would only be banned as a "worst case scenario".

The displays featured during the Bury in Bloom competition have helped win the town regional, national and international prizes in recent years.

Mr Ames hopes to meet council county officials next week to discuss the matter.

Julian Swainson, the county council's portfolio holder for sustainable environment, said: "The authority had not actually banned hanging baskets on the lampposts in Bury.

"County council engineers have done a lot of work to ensure that Bury in Bloom is as attractive and successful this year as it ever has been in the past, while carrying out the safety checks that are our legal and moral duty," he said.

"Nobody has been killed by falling hanging baskets, precisely because across the country local engineers make these safety checks."

Organisers of the annual Bury in Bloom campaign have now been told they cannot hang baskets from lampposts which are more than 30 years old.

The only exception will be if the manufacturers of the lampposts and contractors who installed them can be traced and persuaded to guarantee they are strong enough. Bury in Bloom officials fear that this will prove impossible and the town will lose around 90 baskets.

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