Anger over 'fire hazard' plant ban
TENANTS have been told to remove pot plants and hanging baskets from outside their flats because of fire safety rules.
It has led the Exeter-based Devon and Cornwall Housing Association to be accused of "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut".
People living in Bell Court and Bridge Court off Exe Street, near Iron Bridge, have raised a petition to complain at the manner in which the rules are being enforced.
One of the longest-standing tenants Lizzie Elhamri, 52, who has lived at Bell Court for more than 20 years, said: "It really is a great shame and means now we cannot put anything on the communal balconies.
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"There has been no consultation and they seem to have decided to enforce a blanket ban just to make things easier for themselves.
"Hanging baskets, tubs of plants, little plastic greenhouses all have to go and there has been no consultation at all. What harm can hanging baskets do? They brighten the place up and are certainly not a fire hazard.
"I was told to remove my plants or face being served with a possession notice."
Mrs Elhamri said she has started a petition and already has 46 signatures.
She said: "There are probably around 120 tenants. I am only doing it in my spare time and people have been very good."
A Devon & Cornwall Housing spokesman said: "We take the safety of our residents seriously, and based on a recent fire risk assessment we have had to ensure all communal walkways are be kept clear.
"Our team has attempted to address each of the residents' queries and has been in contact with them on a regular basis regarding the assessment and how it affects them.
"We are very supportive of our residents using the outdoor spaces surrounding the estate, which are full of flowers and plants to enjoy and help to create a positive community spirit."