Electricity company chiefs have been blasted as killjoys after forcing hanging baskets to be removed over health and safety fears – despite them being there for 10 YEARS.
Graham Rudkin, who is chairman of Holbeach in Bloom, had a dozen baskets on brackets in a car park attached to the tall wooden poles.
But he claims it’s a case of health and safety gone mad after being told he had to remove nine of the beautiful baskets due to them being on Western Power poles.
The poles carry live electricity power lines, where they have been for the last 10 years, but the electricity distribution network suddenly ordered them to be taken down.
Mr Rudkin, 68, believes things were brought to a head when a new power supply box was installed for a market trader and Western Power visited to inspect it in Spalding, Lincs.
He said: “While they were there, they said ‘whose are the baskets?’ and were told they belonged to Holbeach in Bloom.
“They said they have got to come down because it’s a health and safety issue.
“Well I just think it’s health and safety gone mad because we check the brackets every year and the baskets are not a danger to anybody.
“I think they have got a health and safety issue with the baskets being on the poles – they have only been up there for ten years.”
South Holland District Council have instead allowed Holbeach in Bloom to hang baskets on council lampposts, but there aren’t enough available.
So instead just three baskets have been left around the car park, meaning Mr Rudkin will have to “destroy” the others which cost around £300 in donations and grants.
Mr Rudkin, who took the baskets down last week, added: “It’s a little bit annoying and it’s health and safety bureaucracy gone silly again.
“Now I have taken them down it’s just a waste, I had looked after those baskets for two months for nothing.
“They will have to be destroyed as they are so big that if you move them about they just become damaged and do not look very nice.
“I was a little peeved about it to tell you the truth because it brightens up a dull area in the town.
“I don’t see what the problem is as we check them every year to make sure they are safe.”
The wooden poles carry electricity wires at the top of them and Western Power’s fear is using ladders to tend to the baskets, or watering them, could cause someone to be electrocuted.
Retired Mr Rudkin has a team of helpers to keep the area in bloom with beautiful baskets and the team have placed 219 throughout the town of Holbeach.
A spokesman for Western Power said: “Western Power Distribution has arranged for the hanging baskets to be removed from its electricity poles in Holbeach.
“After discussion with South Holland District Council, it has been agreed that the baskets can be relocated onto its streetlight columns, which is more appropriate than their current location on poles carrying electricity power lines.
“It’s more to do with public safety. We can’t allow anything to be connected to our electrical infrastructure or interfered with in any way.
“The poles carry live electricity power lines and should be kept well clear of.
“We always urge members of the public to stay well clear of equipment, since electricity can travel through something that comes into contact with it and it can even jump gaps.
“After speaking with the council, they have offered a more appropriate solution so that the baskets can still be displayed but the safety risk has been removed.”