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Christmas cancelled for Plaistow tenants

PUBLISHED: 06:00 14 December 2011 | UPDATED: 10:39 14 December 2011

Albert, Marion & Luke Still with their decorations

Albert, Marion & Luke Still with their decorations

Archant

Christmas usually offers the chance to lift the spirits with some bright and cheerful decorations...except for a group of tenants in Plaistow.

Christmas usually offers the chance to lift the spirits with some bright and cheerful decorations...except for a group of tenants in Plaistow.

The actions of Newham Council have angered locals after a family living in flats in Anne Street were told to take down their Christmas trees and lights from outside their property.

Albert Still, his wife Marion, and son Luke have marked the start of every festive season since moving in four years ago by brightening up the communal area in their block. But last week, for the first time, they received a knock on the door from a housing officer.

Mr Still, said: “She said the communal area was, as it was, a health risk and said the lights were a fire hazard.

“The lights are hanging off the glass panel of a door, how is that a hazard? As soon as we moved up here my son started put them up. He looks after the plants as well. I was just in shock and didn’t know what to say.” Mr Still has refused to remove any of the decorations or plants. He added: “The neighbours have got the right hump about it as well. It just brightens up the place at this time of the year.

“If it needs to go to court we will go to court. By the time we get there they would have been taken down anyway.” However, since the visit, it seems Newham Council has softened its stance and will now allow him to keep his tinsel up over the holidays.

But a spokesman maintained the lights posed a fire hazard. He said: “The communal areas must also be kept clear of large, bulky items such as Christmas trees and toys because this is also a fire risk and may cause problems if there was an emergency situation.

“The residents living there were asked to remove the items and lights. However, the non-electrical decorations which were not on the floor, are allowed to remain there during the festive period.”

Mr Still also said the officer also asked why unemployed Luke, 28, was still living at home and also questioned the suitably of their laminated flooring.

“It feels like they were trying to take the fun out of our Christmas.”


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