Town council bosses have been forced to take down patriotic bunting ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee after residents complained it was too noisy.
The red, white and blue decorations put up in the town centre of Sheerness, Kent to mark Her Majesty’s 70-year reign were claimed to be causing a racket when it was windy.
Sheerness Town Council said it wanted something ‘different’ this year so opted for a plastic material but the ‘nuisance’ was taken down after residents complained.
The bunting will now not be there to mark the Jubilee celebrations which kick off on June 2 to celebrate The Queen‘s seven decades on the Throne.
Sheerness will also not have celebrations by its iconic 120-year-old Royal clock that was unveiled during the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.
Engineers hurried to revamp the clock, at a cost of £160,000, for the Jubilee but the council decided the concrete would be ‘too hard to sit on’ – so are having their street party in a park instead.
Complaining residents in the Kent town are not the only Jubilee killjoys. Up and down the country, street parties have been cancelled due to bus route diversions, roadworks not finished in time, red tape and the expense of public liability insurance.
Meanwhile, street lamps have been tested to see if they are strong enough to hold festive bunting and some councils have even asked residents to hold their parties quietly.
The red, white and blue decorations (seen in 2020) put up in the town centre of Sheerness in Kent to mark Her Majesty’s 70-year reign were claimed to be causing a racket when it was windy
Sheerness Town Council said it wanted something ‘different’ this year so opted for a plastic material but after residents complained the ‘nuisance’ was taken down (the bunting now gone)
Party shop fears nationwide bunting shortage in lead-up to Jubilee
Party Boutique in Bournemouth, Dorset, is selling out fast of Union Jack flags, plates, napkins, balloons and other items.
And they are anxious about re-stocking as supplies from China are being disrupted as vast swathes of the country is still in lockdown.
This is affecting factory production and ships carrying supplies may not arrive in time.
The store is encouraging people holding Jubilee parties to get their bunting now to avoid potential disappointment.
Alan Trowbridge, who works at the store, said they had been inundated with orders in the past few days as Jubilee excitement builds.
He said: ‘We opened up during the first lockdown so the only way was up and this is our first major event.
‘In the last few days there’s been a surge of demand, with people saying they can’t find any bunting in the big supermarkets.
‘A lot of the stuff is manufactured in the Far East and when you think about China their factories are affected by covid and the latest lockdown there.
‘Supplies need to be shipped over and when you track these ships it appears some may not arrive until June 5 or 6, which would be too late.
‘I imagine it is a similar picture all over the country, although I appreciate some areas are more patriotic with more demand than others.
‘We would recommend you buy up your bunting now to avoid missing the boat.’
Retailers are also seeing a huge increase in people looking at Jubilee products on their websites, according to the Guardian.
Waitrose has also reported a 114% increase in people searching its website for platinum jubilee food and drink recipes.
John Lewis says ‘jubilee’ searches are up 55% week on week and B&Q claims it has sold 100,000 metres of bunting.
On google searches for the term ‘Jubliee bunting’ are up 1,100%.
Sheerness town council chairman Matt Bromley admitted the plastic union bunting hanging across the High Street and Broadway had been removed.
He told KentOnline: ‘We wanted something different this year so we went for a plastic material.
‘But when the wind blew, it made such a racket residents living above the shops complained.
‘Rather than cause a nuisance, we have taken it down and are intending to donate it to the shops so they can use it to decorate their windows.’
He added: ‘It’s been a learning curve. We will be going back to material next time.’
In further blow to the town, plans for celebrations around the newly restored 120 year old clock tower have also been shelved.
The tower has just returned after a seven-month £160,000 facelift. Engineers pulled out all the stops to ensure it was back in time for the jubilee celebrations.
The Grade-II listed clock was first unveiled on June 26, 1902, to mark the coronation of King Edward VII and and Queen Alexandra.
Cllr Bromley said: ‘The concrete around the clock would have been too hard to have sat on.’
Instead, the council is organising a free picnic with entertainment in nearby Beachfields Park by the sandpit on the seafront Sunday, June 5.
By contrast, Isle of Sheppey’s other town, Queenborough, has taken the bull by the horns and will be lighting its jubilee beacon at Crundall’s Wharf at 9pm next Thursday.
The people of Kent are also likely to have quiet celebrations after its county council ruled street parties must not ‘disrupt local residents with music or other noise’.
But residents should be thankful that they are not completely cancelled like Barnes High Street in Richmond.
Traders there had to put a stop to a ‘packed calendar’ of events because residents of Nassau Road, where the average house price is £3.5 million, complained about buses being diverted past their homes for the event.
Barnes Community Association wrote on its Facebook page: ‘Following complaints from residents in Nassau Road over the temporary diversion of buses down the road, and additional practical issues to enable buses to be diverted, the council felt it would be better to withdraw permission for the party, a view which we share.
‘Unfortunately we were not able to make this party work this time but we still hope that a fabulous community celebration on the High Street will be possible in the future.’
The Kent town are not the only Jubilee killjoys. Up and down the country, street parties have been cancelled due to bus route diversions, roadworks not finished in time, red tape and the expense of public liability insurance. Pictured: No bunting in Sheerness
Bunting put up in Sheerness town centre seen during April 2018
The objection of BBC World Service’s Richard Preston due to it interfering with his work and health and safety made Brent Council ‘downsize’ its street party.
Mr Preston’s neighbours ‘tried to reason with him but it quickly became apparent that he was not going to change his mind’, according to a local.
The resident added: ‘People are very angry at him stopping their fun.’
Mr Preston, who works night shifts at the corporation, said he was not objecting to the party ‘as such’ but felt he ‘didn’t have enough information’ about the proposals.
Newtown’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations planned for its High Street next month have had also been scuppered by roadworks, according to My Newtown.
Lancashire County Council is also insisting that parish and town councils shell out £55 to test any lighting column that is more than seven years old.
If they don’t pass the inspection, the council said it can’t be used to hang decorations such as bunting, baskets and lights.
Pensioner Gloria Odell faced with having to do a ‘counter-terrorism plan’, a security plan, a severe weather management plan and a Covid risk assessment cancelled her June 5 event for just 15 houses on her street in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire which was going to raise money for her local hospice.
Binstead residents on the Isle of Wight said the cost of public liability insurance put paid to their event, the Telegraph reported.
They also would have had to hire traffic management company to draw up traffic plans and supply all signage to close their street.
The people of Kent are also likely to have quiet celebrations after its county council ruled street parties must not ‘disrupt local residents with music or other noise’. Pictured: Crowds on the Mall during The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Pictured: Over 4,000 flags in Covent Garden for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
The Queen seen attending the Chelsea Flower Show this week ahead of Jubilee celebrations
Chris Gittins, who runs Street Party, an event planning site recommended by the Government, said: ‘Most councils have done a great job for Jubilee street parties. But this is an unnecessary heavy-handed muddle by the local council and its contracted traffic management company.
‘Some streets trudged through the barrage of red tape, but many others would have been put off. If only the council followed what most councils, our website and even the Government suggests – insurance, a risk assessment, etc, are not needed.’
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, in a letter seen by the Mail on Sunday, wrote to every local authority earlier this week to urge them to ‘cut red tape’ and be ‘completely flexible’ over road closures.
Mr Gove added: ‘Your residents should be made aware of all the support that is available and no one should be put off by needless red tape’.
‘National celebrations like this mean a lot to our communities and the fabric of our society.’