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Couple’s anger over ‘petty’ ban

A SHIRLEY couple were ordered to take down balloons from outside their business, after the council feared they might distract drivers.

balloons

A SHIRLEY couple were ordered to take down balloons from outside their business, after the council feared they might distract drivers.

Diane and Derek Betts were threatened with legal action after putting up the balloons outside Bespoke Home & Flooring- their Stratford Road firm.

Solihull Council also claimed that the balloons could pose a risk if they got loose and a child chased one into the road.

But Diane has described the authority’s stance as “petty” and said that pursuing the matter is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“Do we ban birthday parties in case a balloon escapes from a garden?” she said.

“In the current climate when small businesses are supposed to be supported, how are the council supporting us to stay in Solihull?”

The couple moved into the premises last year and had originally been challenged about the number and position of advertising boards outside.

Officials also insisted that balloons - which were strung up to catch the eyes of passers-by - had to go.

The Betts have taken them down for now, because they don’t want to inflame the situation, but demand answers from the council’s highways department.

Coun Ted Richards, cabinet member for transport and highways, said: “We understand that Mrs Betts wants to advertise her business, however we do have responsibility for ensuring that people can use our footpaths safely.

“As I understand, Mrs Betts was placing three ‘A board’ signs on the footpath causing an obstruction to pedestrians – particularly anyone using a wheelchair or pram.

“We have also asked her not to tie balloons to street lights and hand rails because we consider this to be flyposting and could be a potential distraction to drivers if they were tied to her signs.”

He said that the couple still had permission to keep one A board on the public footpath outside.

* What do you think? Is this health and safety gone mad or a reasonable request from the council? Write in to 150, High Street, Solihull, B91 3SX.

 

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