Retired Yorkshire couple told to dig up dangerous flowers | UK | News


This summer, a nit-picking neighbour wrote anonymously to council officials in South Yorkshire saying the flowers are a danger to road-users, despite the house sitting on a little lane with only eight other homes.

And in the latest instalment of the saga, seen as health and safety gone mad, the green-fingered pensioners Brian and Sally Williams were left stunned when Sheffield Council upheld the complaint.

The council then wrote a letter to the couple giving them an ultimatum, either get rid of the flowers themselves or pay for them to be removed by the authority.

The pensioners now have one week to remove the bed of dahlias outside their home in Loxley, South Yorkshire.

More than 3,000 villagers have signed a petition in support of Mr and Mrs Williams who planted the colourful flower-bed outside their 200-year-old cottage when they bought the house in 1991.

Retired landlady Mrs Williams said: “We are absolutely devastated, this is our passion.

“This is what gets up out of the house on a cold morning and keeps us busy then to receive a letter like this out of the blue – it’s appalling.

The 69-year-old added: “The only people who come up past us on this lane are two neighbours, the milk lady and the postman.

“When we moved here the road was neglected by Sheffield City Council, it had potholes and grass growing wild.

“As a keen gardener, I see a bit of neglected land and I just had to smarten it up.

“Brian and I are keen conservationists, we like to do a bit for our environment so we’re doing our best to attract bees, butterflies and wildlife to the area.

“We clear up dog poo, sweep the streets, we’ve successfully reared barn owls, everyone is very environmentally friendly.

“We all keep the areas around our homes in an immaculate condition.

“We have had nothing but praise for what we have done here.”

Over the last 30 years the grandparents of three say they’ve spent more than £1,000 tending to the verge.

Mrs Williams who used to run a traditional country pub in the Peak District with husband Brian, aged 80, until they retired 10 years ago said they first put stones along the edge to keep the road clear, using old rocks they had purchased for an extension on their home.

They then planted flowers behind it, with dahlias, her favourite flower, making a big appearance.

Mrs Williams said: “When the Tour De France came to Yorkshire in 2014 the council inspected the roads and finally tarmacked the lane, while they were at it, they also tarmacked the stones in.

“If they had such a problem with our floral display, why didn’t they raise it then?

“They have now told us we have a week to remove everything. How are we supposed to dig up stones that they have tarmacked in?”

The council revealed they received an anonymous complaint from a neighbour which was upheld because the flowers were deemed a “danger” to road users.

Mrs Williams said: “They are not a danger at all. It is not an area used as a passing point and no car could park there, the lane is too narrow.”

Sheffield City Council said: “We have sympathy with the nearby homeowner who has attempted to stop cars driving over the highway verge on what is a very narrow, single-track lane.

“Unfortunately the placing of flower beds, as well as stones and water barrels, on the highway outside the property, could be a danger to other road users.”

A petition set up by neighbours on has collected more than 3,000 signatures.

Mrs Williams said: “They just said it’s their policy, nobody is allowed bulbs or wildflower seeds on the verges or on the roadside.

“I’m hoping we can make them see sense with the amount of support we have to keep our lane looking neat and tidy.

“I do worry though, that a council that in the midst of felling 17,000 trees that line the residential streets of Sheffield, will not give two hoots about a little flowerbed.”

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