Derbyshire council bosses order removal of memorial planter after branding it a health and safety hazard

Derbyshire council bosses have been slammed for ordering villagers to remove a memorial planter built to mark the centenary of the Women's Institute after branding it a health and safety risk.

Friday, 5th October 2018, 5:12 pm
Updated Friday, 5th October 2018, 5:18 pm
The stone planter memorial was built to mark the centenary of the WI
The stone planter memorial was built to mark the centenary of the WI

The picturesque floral display was erected by the side of Makeney Road in Holbrook, in August this year after being built by a group of volunteers.

But overzealous town hall chiefs have now told residents to tear down the stone planter after receiving just a single complaint and said it poses "a significant safety risk."

Derbyshire County Council believe the current location on the 60mph road is dangerous because motorists could crash into it.

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The stone planter memorial was built to mark the centenary of the WI

But villagers have blasted the decision as the planter sits next to a stone wall anyway and questioned whether every tree, lamppost and road sign should also be removed.

The Holbrook Community Action Group said it had taken 100 man-hours to build after they were granted permission by the parish council.

The display is surrounded by a stone structure with a plaque on it that reads: “Commemorating 100 years of the Women’s Institute in Holbrook, 1918 – 2018.”

Volunteer Ronald Brien, 87, a grandfather-of-three, who was part of the team that spent painstaking hours building the memorial, said: “Its absolutely ridiculous.

It was erected by the side of the road on Makeney Road in Holbrook in August

"We were granted permission from Holbrook Parish Council to build this memorial so we thought we had gone through the right channels.

“But somebody then complained about it and didn’t like that fact it was there and they got the county council involved.

“They stepped in and said it was dangerous and it’s got to come down.

“The parish council have an agricultural license but not a structural one, which is the problem.

But council bosses have ordered it to be removed after branding it a health and safety risk

“We’ve done everything we can to persuade the county council to let us keep it but they've been jobsworths about it.

“It had taken over 100 man-hours to build – it was a long process.

“We sourced the stones locally and had them sanded down and then moved over to the spot where it is. Then it was a case of cementing them together.

“We ended up finishing the piece in August – so it’s been there for a few weeks now and I can't see how it is dangerous.

“Me and few others built it because we were asked by the local Women’s Institute, who paid for most of the material.

“We do this often – we like to help out – we built a few things such as playgrounds for the kids.

“I don’t really understand because there is a kerb and walk path before you even get to where the piece is.

“There’s all sorts of other dangerous things on that stretch of road before you even get to the memorial.

"Its ludicrous. Will we now have to remove every tree, every footpath sign, every lamppost and every other thing that the council consider an obstruction?

“It’s health and safety gone mad really."

A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: “We appreciate residents were upset that we asked for the planter to be moved which is why we met with them to discuss alternative sites.

“We raised concerns because the current location is unsuitable on a 60mph road where it could pose a significant safety risk if someone crashed into the stone structure.

“Anyone wishing to place anything new near one of the council’s roads has to apply to us for a licence to ensure all safety issues are considered and unfortunately on this occasion this did not happen.

“We met recently with the Women’s Institute and the parish council and during that meeting a walk around the village revealed a more suitable location and it was agreed that the planter could be moved to the front lawn of the parish hall where people could safely enjoy it.”