Bloomin’ health and safety madness in Holbeach

Graham Rudkin with two of the baskets (front) that had to be taken down. SG080815-037mf

Graham Rudkin with two of the baskets (front) that had to be taken down. SG080815-037mf

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Bloom chairman Graham Rudkin blasted a ruling that made his team remove hanging baskets from a car park as “health and safety bureaucracy gone silly again”.

Holbeach in Bloom had a dozen baskets in Boston Road car park but nine were on brackets attached to Western Power poles carrying live electricity power lines – and had to come down on the company’s orders.

One of the electricity poles with the In Bloom brackets. SG080815-045mf

One of the electricity poles with the In Bloom brackets. SG080815-045mf

Graham said: “I think they have got a health and safety issue with the baskets being on the poles – they have only been up there for ten years.”

He believes things were brought to a head when a new power supply box was installed for a market trader and South Holland District Council brought someone down from Western Power to inspect it.

“While they were there, they said “whose are the baskets?” and were told they belonged to Holbeach in Bloom. They said ‘they have got to come down because it’s a health and safety issue’.

“Well I just think it’s health and safety gone mad because we check the brackets every year and the baskets are not a danger to anybody.

It’s more to do with public safety. We can’t allow anything to be connected to our electrical infrastructure or interfered with in any way.

Western Power Distribution spokesman

“It’s a little bit annoying and it’s health and safety bureaucracy gone silly again.

“I was a little peeved about it to tell you the truth because it brightens up a dull area in the town.”

Holbeach in Bloom has been told it can hang baskets on council lampposts but Graham said there are not many available so he is trying to think of a new way of brightening up the car park for next year.

Meanwhile two of the baskets removed from Boston Road car park have been used to replace those battered in a recent storm.

Luckily the storm came the day after the judging and the Boston Road baskets were still in place at that time.

Some of the baskets from Boston Road will also be in use this weekend, brightening the scene at a local wedding.

A spokesman for Western Power said: “Western Power Distribution has arranged for the hanging baskets to be removed from its electricity poles in Holbeach.

“After discussion with South Holland District Council, it has been agreed that the baskets can be relocated onto its streetlight columns, which is more appropriate than their current location on poles carrying electricity power lines.

“It’s more to do with public safety. We can’t allow anything to be connected to our electrical infrastructure or interfered with in any way. The poles carry live electricity power lines and should be kept well clear of.

“We always urge members of the public to stay well clear of our equipment, since electricity can travel through something that comes into contact with it and it can even jump gaps.

“After speaking with the council, they have offered a more appropriate solution so that the baskets can still be displayed but the safety risk has been removed.”