Mitcham patriot ordered to remove 'unsightly' St George's and Union flags
A patriotic resident is furious after being ordered to take down her “unsightly” St George’s Cross and Union flags.
Natalie Claridge, of Richmond Court, Phipps Bridge Road, Mitcham, has hung three flags outside of her flat on a communal balcony rail for three years including a St George’s Cross, a Union Flag and an Ulster banner representing Northern Ireland.
Housing association Merton Priory Homes (MPH) is now demanding she remove them, stating they were a breach of her tenancy agreement.
A letter from MPH stated the flags were not only a trip and fire hazard but looked “unsightly”.
MPH admitted no official written complaints had been received, but a spokesman claimed a number of residents had complained verbally to estate staff about their appearance, which had been fed back to management teams.
Mrs Claridge has said MPH is being “petty” and that she should be free to fly the flag to demonstrate her patriotism. She said: “Why should we not support our country and show that we are proud of who and what we are.
“They are telling me they have had complaints, that they are an eyesore, which I do not believe as everybody that I have spoken to is not bothered by them and I even get compliments about having them up.”
Mrs Claridge received a letter from the housing association on April 16, ordering removal of the flags, just a week before the country celebrated St George’s Day, a request she has refused.
She said: “I have been round and taken pictures of other hazards on the block which are more of a hazard than my flags.
“The only thing they could trip up is the pigeons and mice that constantly run up and down the guttering and balcony.”
Wayne Hainsworth, managing director of MPH, said: “Merton Priory Homes wants to ensure that its estates are clean, tidy and safe for all residents.
“We do have a clear policy on keeping communal areas clear of personal items. This is made clear in residents’ tenancy agreements, which each resident signs.
“We have no objection to Mrs Claridge displaying the flags within her own home.”
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