Bizarre bylaws 'highlight need to cut red tape', says Sutton Council
11:18am Sunday 21st August 2011 in Epsom
Sutton Council has shed a series of bizarre bylaws, as it looks to highlight how its work can be shackled by bureaucratic red tape.
Bans on playing “tipcat” in a public place, rules on tackling “wilful jostling” and a law against carrying bags of soot in the street are all laws that the council has got rid of in recent years.
It published a list of its top ten bizarre bylaws this week, to highlight how central Government legislation can hinder the council’s work.
The list was revealed as the council steps up a campaign to cut central government red tape.
It is campaigning against consultation laws which mean painting yellow lines on a road can end up costing taxpayers more than £3,000 instead of the £30 paint costs, and complex procurement rules which mean local companies lose out to big businesses when the council awards contracts.
Councillor Ruth Dombey, Sutton’s Deputy Leader, said: “Obviously most of these laws are now outdated and I’m glad to say that we’ve got rid of them from our books.
“But there are still many obscure pieces of legislation brought in centrally that are tying local councils in knots and preventing us from getting things done quickly and cheaply.
“We’ve already held a series of meetings with the Government and are working with them to get rid of pointless regulations that cost the taxpayer millions of pounds every year.”
The list of bizarre bylaws,which date from 1894 to 1935, are:
(1) No person shall play tipcat or any offensive or dangerous game in such a manner as to cause obstruction or danger (Tipcat is an early form of rounders played with a sharpened stick instead of a ball)
(2) The person having control of a steam-powered whirligig will bring it to a standstill if a person becomes ill
(3) If two or more people wilfully jostle or annoy any foot passengers, each such person shall be guilty of an offence
(4) No person shall to the inconvenience or danger of passengers carry a bag of soot in the street
(5) Domestic servants should register with the council
(6) No person shall bathe in a river within 200 yards of public place without wearing a dress
(7) Orange peel or other dangerous substances shall not be thrown in a public place
(8) No person shall sing in any public place within 100 yards of any place of public worship
(9) No person shall convey along any street the undressed carcass of any animal or any offensive offal
(10) Spitting on the wall of a public carriage is prohibited