Pub ordered to take England flags down for health and safety reasons

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

Pub ordered to take England flags down for health and safety reasons

Related tags Lancashire

A licensee is standing his ground against his county council after receiving an order to take down England flags outside his pub.

Steve Butterworth, of the Sportsman in Whitworth, Rochdale, put up bunting from the pub running above the street for the Queen’s birthday celebrations of June 11.

But Lancashire County Council has demanded he take them down for health and safety reasons.

“I left the flags up for the Euros, like any landlord would do,” Buterworth told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​.

“It’s for community spirit, to show we’re supporting England and showing the football. People are happy when the sun is out and the flags are flying.”

Regulars at the Sportsman gathered outside the pub to support Butterworth.

He continued: “The customers are all up in arms. Some of them got it wrong, and thought it was because of racism, but it’s nothing to do with racism. It’s to do with the County Council being a********.

“It’s nit-picking. They don’t own the fresh air do they?”

Butterworth is standing his ground despite the council order.

“The flags are not going anywhere. I’ve asked the council to put it in writing. If they come and take them down without a letter it’s criminal damage,” he said.

“I’ve always put them up for every tournament – Euros, World Cup.”

Spirits are high at the Sportsman during Euro 2016 despite the dispute.

“It’s been brilliant, absolutely heaven. We have BBQs, TV outside, we look after the customers,” Butterworth added.

Lancashire County Council explained the order is due to the bunting breaching the Highways Act.

 A spokesman said: “We’re all for people showing their support for the England team, it’s just that in this case the bunting has been put up over a busy A-road and we wouldn’t want the landlord or the council to be held responsible if it came down and caused an accident.”

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