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Homes in Havering seize garden trinkets which pose ‘fire risk’

PUBLISHED: 16:41 01 September 2011

Homes in Havering has stripped gardens of most items in communal areas. Window boxes have also been taken over fears they are a fire risk.

Homes in Havering has stripped gardens of most items in communal areas. Window boxes have also been taken over fears they are a fire risk.

Archant

»Furniture and ornaments are being stripped from council house communal gardens in a hard-line move by Homes in Havering against outdoor “clutter”.

The diktat follows last year’s blanket ban by the organisation – which manages Havering Council’s housing stock – on trinkets, paintings, and furniture in indoor communal areas.

According to Homes in Havering (HiH) the adornments pose a fire risk.

However, residents have deemed the move “health and safety gone mad”.

Donna Chesterman, from Turpin Avenue, Collier Row, said: “I had garden chairs for everyone to use –but they have been taken to the skip.

Dangerous

“They sent us all letters telling us they were removing ‘clutter’ but we didn’t realise they were going to take our furniture as well.”

She added: “We just want to live like normal people, but we can’t. In any other situation you’d be allowed to make your home and garden a bit nicer by decorating it.

“It’s health and safety gone mad – how dangerous are a couple of chairs?”

The programme started six months ago and is ongoing.

However HiH said staff would exercise discretion before removing items.

“As a guide, anything that might be of a health and safety concern or that looks unsightly/dilapidated should be removed,” a spokesman said.

“As a rule, we do not object to bird stands, plant pots, benches and tables in communal gardens as long as the area doesn’t look cluttered.”

Residents are given 28 days notice before items are seized, he added, and they are normally stored for a month before being dumped.


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