Dave is going to the top to keep the flags flying in Peasedown St John
A row over fun flags being flown in the back garden of a Peasedown St John home is going all the way to the top.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is being asked to look into the legislation which led to Dave Jordan being told that he cannot fly unconventional flags from a flagpole in the garden of his Wellow Tyning home.
While he is legally allowed to fly national, county, sporting, military and saint’s flags, national legislation prevents certain other types of ensigns being raised.
Mr Jordan came to the attention of council officials after a neighbour complained about a flag ordered from an internet site, featuring a face with flames coming from it.
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The flag had been chosen by his five-year-old grandson Ely Hooper.
While the problem has since been resolved with the neighbour, Mr Jordan was surprised when he received a visit from a Bath and North East Somerset Council planning enforcement official, followed by a letter asking him to take his flags down.
Mr Jordan said: “When the officer arrived I was flying a flag celebrating the Chinese New Year and he said I had to remove it.”
The same rule was applied to a pirate’s flag featuring a skull and crossbones.
“I fly them to brighten things up in the garden and my grandson loves to come and help.”
“Now I have been told that I can only fly certain flags – yet just down the road developers David Wilson Homes have 12 flags flying and there are five flags at the Mercedes garage.
“I even have a Christmas flag I put up with “Santa Stop Here” on it and wonder whether I will be able to fly that.”
Mr Jordan contacted his local councillor Nathan Hartley (Lib Dem, Peasedown) who in turn contacted North East Somerset MP Jacob Rees Mogg.
Mr Hartley said: “I was absolutely amazed when these residents contacted me – I thought it was a joke.
“As a Liberal, I believe people, within reason, should be able to exercise freedom of speech and carry out their own business in their own homes.”
Mr Pickles has agreed to look into the legislation which was relaxed only in September to allow a wider range of flags to be flown without the need for planning consent.
A spokesman for B&NES said the council had received a complaint from a member of the public and that Mr Jordan had been told about the Government legislation by the enforcement team and by letter.
“We advised him to discuss the issue with the complainant who was a near neighbour. The matter was resolved. No enforcement action was taken by the council. No further correspondence has been received by us about this issue since that time.”
The council had intervened in August, before the relaxation of rules last month. That change of policy would still, however, not cover the flags which Mr Jordan wants to fly.
A DCLG spokesman said: "The Government has announced that it is cutting red tape to make it easier to fly a range of community, local and national flags that support patriotic events and community spirit. We would encourage councils to take a common sense approach to this so that individuals, like Mr Jordan, can enjoy flying their flags with pride."