Blooming basket ban hits village

PUBLISHED: 07:29 29 June 2006 | UPDATED: 09:30 24 May 2010

FEARS that flower-filled hanging baskets could topple corroded lamp posts in a village have prompted the council to put a ban on the decorative blooms. Villagers in Hutton have decked their streets with scores of baskets for years which have helped win n

FEARS that flower-filled hanging baskets could topple corroded lamp posts in a village have prompted the council to put a ban on the decorative blooms.Villagers in Hutton have decked their streets with scores of baskets for years which have helped win numerous awards in the prestigious Britain in Bloom competition.But North Somerset Council has forbidden dangling the baskets from the vintage-style posts as they may no longer be safe.The basket ban came after routine maintenance on the 26-year-old lamp posts revealed they were rusted and might not be able to take the weight of the containers.The council has carried out emergency testing on the columns and told expectant villagers they will have to wait up to three weeks for a verdict.A council spokesman said: "Until the results of the tests are known, we cannot allow any items such as hanging baskets to be fixed to the columns for health and safety reasons."It may well be that due to the age and condition of the columns, some may need replacement or we could be advised not to attach any baskets to them. These columns were never designed to take additional loadings such as hanging baskets."It is feared up to 30 posts may have to be replaced in Main Road which could signal the end of hanging baskets in Hutton as the containers cannot be suspended from modern lamp posts.North Somerset Council would pay to replace the damaged columns with modern posts at £550 each but not for the old-style ones at over £1,200. A Hutton parish council member fears it may have to pay the extra £700 per post if it wants to replace damaged posts with similar old-style ones.Parish councillor and Hutton in Bloom chairman Polly White said: "It is not so bad this year as we had decided not to put up any hanging baskets because we were taking a break from the Britain in Bloom contest."We don't know what will happen with the lamp posts but I intend to raise the issue of paying for replacement old-style ones at the next parish council meeting to see what people think. If we cannot have hanging baskets I think residents would miss them but we would have to think of something else.

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