Gnomes banned by elf and safety!
A pair of friendly gnomes have been banned from a block of Black Country flats under strict new health and safety rules.
Linda Langford has also been told to remove her 'welcome' plaque on the grounds it is a fire risk. Sandwell Council insists it is 'common sense' to ban the gnomes and a senior councillor defended the move as potentially 'life-saving'.
The pottery gnomes – one hitting an anvil and the other reading a book – have been outside Miss Langford's flat in Sedgley Road West, Tipton, since she moved in nine years ago.
An ornamental tortoise on her window sill must also be taken down.
Miss Langford, aged 57, was outraged after receiving a letter asking her to take away a doormat, the two six-inch gnomes, and her 'welcome' plaque.
Linda, who works as an assembler at hardware manufacturer Simonswerk in Tipton, said: "These things make the flats more welcoming and homely. What are we supposed to do now we have no door mats? Just traipse in the rain and snow?"
She added: "All we are trying to do is make our environment a bit better. Nothing in that landing is blocking the exits."
But Sandwell's housing boss Councillor Mahboob Hussain said: "I have received complaints about items blocking communal areas and I have visited flats to look at the problem.
"I've seen people blocking hallways in a manner that is just not acceptable. I've seen chests of drawers on landings and plants on staircases. This is about fire regulations. We have to use common sense. If it helps to save one life, it's worth it."
Families in flats managed by Sandwell Homes have been told to remove the objects in a move which will affect around 2,868 people in 56 blocks of flats. Similar rules have caused uproar inWolverhampton.
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