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Future looks brighter for village

PUBLISHED: 10:29 18 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:54 03 July 2010

The threat of crumbling lamp posts spoiling a picturesque Norfolk village's quest to brighten up the county has been averted.

In January, residents of Filby, near Yarmouth, were stunned to be told that they could not put up colourful hanging baskets on lamp posts because of stringent health and safety regulations.

The threat of crumbling lamp posts spoiling a picturesque Norfolk village's quest to brighten up the county has been averted.

In January, residents of Filby, near Yarmouth, were stunned to be told that they could not put up colourful hanging baskets on lamp posts because of stringent health and safety regulations.

Yarmouth Borough Council was concerned the old lamp posts would topple over and injure people if the 20kg baskets were placed on them.

The council edict meant the community faced the distinct possibility of not being able to decorate their village with flower laden baskets for the first time in the 12-year history of Filby in Bloom.

But now the future is looking brighter after the council bought forward its lamp post replacement programme to ensure Filby will be able to line the roads with blooming baskets this summer.

The new lamp posts could help secure Filby the prestigious accolade of East Anglia's best kept village, a title it has held for the last nine years, and help it snare a second Britain in Bloom award.

Adrian Thompson, chairman of Filby in Bloom, said: “It has been a long road and I will be happy when the lamp posts are finally up as we are still in a state of limbo at the moment and time is of the essence.

“But all credit to the council for bringing forward its lamp post replacement schedule.”

Mr Thompson said that 52 lamp posts should be replaced and the council will put hanging basket brackets on them.

Borough council officials originally told Filby it could not use the lamp posts after a survey revealed that they were unsafe.

There were fears that the village would have to pay out £9,000 to make sure the columns could support the floral structures.

At one point, experts from Yarmouth-based Oilfield testing services were called in to test the lamp posts' safety after the firm's managing director and Filby resident Shaun Hutchinson heard about the problem.

In total, 15pc of the borough council's off street lamp posts were declared unsafe in the survey, resulting in the ordering of new lighting columns for the region.

Tim Howard, borough council head of regeneration, said he was pleased the authority had bought forward

its lamp post replacement programme to help Filby keep its floral crown.

Mr Howard said: “We are absolutely delighted we can resolve this matter not just for this summer but for many others to come as well.

“I hope the new lamp posts and their baskets will once again give Filby in Bloom the recognition it deserves.”

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