A Camberwell family who were previously shocked to be banned from flying England flags in Euro 2020 have now been told they can keep them up, after the News intervened.
Simon Paul and his partner Cassandra Fairweather, who have lived on the Brandon Estate for a decade, said they had been sent a letter by Southwark Council telling them the flags on their balcony were a ‘fire risk’.
They said they have always put up a display for the football, at Christmas and at Halloween without any complaints – and pointed to the flags on the Kirby Estate in Bermondsey as a comparison. They said their children, two of whom are disabled and attend a special school, had been left in tears by the ban.
But two days after we first reported the story, the council appears to have backtracked – and says it has now told the family they can put up the flags, although Simon said he had had no word from council officers.
Cllr Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for council housing and homelessness, said: “In some circumstances, we can use a more flexible, rather than blanket, approach and we can look at fire risk individually if we’re asked to – in this case, we have done just that. We’ve explained to the family that they can keep their bunting up.
“All our buildings are individually assessed for their fire risk, and each one is unique, which is why it can sometimes look like one rule for one estate, and another elsewhere – but in the week of the anniversary of Grenfell, obviously fire safety remains a priority. There will always be risks to be weighed up, and a fine line between being a killjoy and compromising on fire safety, which we cannot do.”
But Simon told the News: “I haven’t heard anything from them. It doesn’t make a difference to me, we kept the flags up anyway.”
The apparent u-turn comes after Simon said the council told him they would ‘proceed to court’ when he initially refused to take the flags down.