Plants' hazard leads to ban in East Looe
A GROUP of East Looe residents say they are flabbergasted after being asked to remove plants and flowers from outside their homes – due to health and safety fears.
For years residents of Lower Chapel Street and Lower Market Street have lined the streets outside their properties with plant pots.
Residents say that when in full bloom, tourists are often seen taking photographs of the flowers.
However, Looe Town Council has now told residents that all pots must be cleared away by October 9 – or they will be removed by the authority.
The council said the action is necessary after a man slipped on the slimy ground and injured his knee – and they are fearful of any repeat.
However, Jill Thorn, 70, is among a dozen local residents who have been left furious at the decision of the council.
"We had a letter through our doors saying they want us to get rid of the pots, which we just can't believe," said the Lower Chapel Street resident.
"The tourists come and take photographs of the plants because they look so beautiful – why would the council want to get rid of something that the tourists enjoy?
"No one has come to see us at all (from the town council) to explain this to us; we don't know what is going on."
Jane Read, who lives at Sea View Cottages, was also unhappy: "It is slightly ironic that the council are encouraging us to be more self-sufficient and, through schools, children are being encouraged to grow their own flowers and vegetables. But they are banning my four-year-old daughter from growing things outside her home."
Cornwall councillor for East Looe, Armand Toms, said the council was in a difficult situation and had to take action.
"We've had a lot of problems there over the years, with sweeping, cleaning and weeding and a number of other issues.
"In some cases there were 30 or 40 pots with weeds growing out of them and we've got to be mindful of this.
"It came to a head recently when a local resident slipped over, as it was all slimy on the ground. We've got to do something before something else happens and we get taken to court.
"We want to clear the area, clean it up and put some pride back into it. Once that is all done then I am not against people putting back a small number of pots to make the area outside their homes look better.
"We just want to make the area a better place for the people that live there. I've got no problem with people putting those [plants] out if they are well maintained."
And Edith Coles, from the South East Cornwall Tourism Association agreed with the town council's actions.
"Some of the plants are well looked after but some of the pots contain dead plants and weeds and some have also encroached so much into the streets that vehicles cannot get down there to clean them," she said.
Councillor Gregory, chairman of Looe Town Council's Environment and Public Protection Committee, said: "Quite clearly we had to take action not only for public safety, but also to help make the area a more pleasant place to live.
"In order to achieve this, our community officer has worked hard to ensure that these issues are tackled."