Killjoy council chiefs have removed dozens of floral hanging baskets from a historic bridge – because of HEALTH and SAFETY fears.
The metal baskets and ornamental troughs have adorned the bridge which spans the River Severn in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, for the past two years.
But town hall chiefs ordered they were taken away after a complaint from a resident about the condition of the railings on the bridge.
Structural engineers recommended the flowers were removed after fears the hanging baskets could drop onto the heads of CANOEISTS sailing underneath.
But residents in the town have branded the ruling ‘blooming madness’ and demanded the floral displays are re-instated immediately.
Retired teacher Brian Samson, 70, fumed: “The floral displays on the bridge are wonderful and brighten up the entire town.
“This ruling is quite literally blooming madness.
“Yet another example of health and safety zealots spoiling everyone’s fun for the sake of it.
“Apparently someone who was rowing underneath saw the baskets rocking about during the high winds and contacted the council who amazingly agreed to take them down.”
After the town council complained, some of the troughs have been returned to the bridge but they could be banned for good in September when a final decision is made.
Town Council clerk Anne Wilson said: “Shropshire Council has decided they might not be safe.”
Shropshire Council spokeswoman Maria Jones said a fault in the railing had been reported by a member of the public, which made the flower troughs insecure.
She said: “The rail can be physically shaken so the flowers had to be taken off as a precautionary measure.
“Our engineers inspected the troughs and hanging baskets and there were real concerns about them being dislodged in high winds and falling on people, namely caneoists, rowing under the bridge.
“It was decided the best and safest thing to do was to remove the troughs and baskets which posed the biggest danger and a decision on what to do about the railing will be made in September.”
Canoeists yesterday branded the council’s hanging basket ban “ridiculous”.
A spokesperson for Sun Valley Canoeing, which has run canoe trips on the River Severn since 1988, said: “The area is very popular with canoeists.
“I would say maybe 10 a day go under the bridge on a week day and more on the weekend depending on the weather and the level or strength of the river.
“We and other companies do run a lot of trips up and down the river.
“I can’t imagine the hanging baskets pose much of a risk to be honest, I suppose they could fall down, but I can’t imagine a few hanging baskets are a big problem.
“I guess they could fall and hit someone, but it seems like overkill to me.”
Marketing manager and keen canoeist Andy Moss, 30, from Bridgnorth, added: “It’s barmy to suggest that canoeists are dicing with death when they canoe under the bridge because of falling hanging baskets.
“Canoeists all wear helmets anyway and you’ve probably got more chance of being hit with a stone from some kid than a hanging basket.
“The chances of that happening must be more than a million to one.
“It’s a real shame because the flowers on the bridge look amazing when they are in full bloom.”