U-turn call over doormats ban at flats

The housing organisation in charge of Wolverhampton's council homes could be forced into a U-turn over a controversial ban on doormats and plants.

The housing organisation in charge of Wolverhampton's council homes could be forced into a U-turn over a controversial ban on doormats and plants.

Wolverhampton Homes, which manages 23,500 properties for Wolverhampton City Council, removes carpets and mats from communal areas in flats.

It has also banned net curtains on the communal entrances. But Liberal Democrat councillor Richard Whitehouse will tonight seek cross-party support to overturn the rule at a meeting of the full council. In a motion to be put to the vote he said: "In the interests of health and safety, this council demands that Wolverhampton Homes alters its policy on removal of carpets and mats from communal areas of flats.

"Furthermore, this council demands that the use of net curtains at the communal entrance to electronic door entry flats and the placing of ornaments and plants on communal balconies, not passageways, of two storey maisonettes be allowed to continue."

Councillor Whitehouse said today: "Residents have said the flats look drab and unwelcoming now.

"I do not see how there is any fire risk from plants and door mats, especially as I remember 20 years ago when we had to paint the walls with fire proof paint.

"I am not suggesting this in any block with more than three storeys. My motion does not make any provision for people to leave bicycles and push chairs out either."

Dave Cocker, secretary of Graiseley Tenants and Residents' Association, said: "I think common sense should prevail. I cannot recall and incident where a doormat has ended up a fire hazard.

"They have been part of British life for generations." Tenants who flout new rules face heavy fines or even jail, it has emerged. Pot plants, pictures and other items were outlawed last year.

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