Not so jolly roger! Foulden woman given hard time over pirate flag
A Foulden woman has found, flying a skull-and-crossbones flag in her garden might not lead to walking the plank, but she has encountered council intervention with a written request to remove the flag following a neighbourly dispute.
Maria Leys-Lambert had placed the jolly roger-style flag in her garden describing it as "a kid's flag".
The row made national newspaper headlines, but has been resolved as Breckland Council had decided it will not be taking any further action over the flag ... thereby letting Maria off the (Captain) hook.
Ms Leys-Lambert said: "On September 1, I received a letter from Breckland Council planning department stating that I was breaking an advertising rule and please for me to get in touch with them.
"It seems as though I am breaking some ancient pirate law to not advertise pirates. The firm I purchased it from have told me they haven't had any complaints before.
"The council have informed me I need to remove it and show photographic evidence of doing so. I have informed the council I will not be taking it down as it's my grandson's den."
On Breckland Council's website, one example of a breach of planning control is defined in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as 'advertisements that require express consent under the Advertisement Regulations, but are displayed without consent being granted' and this constitutes an offence.
Flags used for advertising and promotional purposes are controlled under Advertisement Regulations and would normally require consent from the local council
Under current laws, any flag flying outside a residential property has to have planning permission unless it is a national, county, national, European Union and United Nations flags which are all allowed under advertising regulations.
An email was sent to Ms Leys-Lambert from an assistant planning enforcement officer at Breckland Council which said: "We have written to you with regards to the flags in your garden.
"Unfortunately I need to advise you to remove the skull and crossbones flag, as this is in breach of advertising regulations.
"Due to the high workload we are experiencing we are unable to visit you at this time. However if you remove the flag, and provide a photograph as evidence, this case will be closed."
Ms Leys-Lambert has said that if she does not remove the flag the penalty will be court action against her.
There have been smiliar cases to this over the years in other areas of the country including Yorkshire, Surrey and Lincolnshire.
A Breckland Council spokesperson said: “After receiving a complaint from the public about flags being displayed without consent, we had a duty to investigate the situation.
"Our team found that one of the three flag poles did legally require consent and wrote to the owner to ask them to take it down. After further discussions with the owner we feel no further enforcement is required and the flags can remain in place.”