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GB News
GB News
16 Dec 2023

NextImg:Christmas 'spoilt' for locals as tree removed from housing block over health and safety fears

A Christmas tree in a retirement housing block is removed each night and weekend due to "health and safety" concerns.

Residents of Boswell Court in Bedford have been warned that the festive addition to the main entrance hallway cannot be in place whenever the caretaker is not on duty.

At the end of every shift, the tree is therefore locked away in a cupboard, out of sight for those living there.

Despite complaints from locals, the housing association which looks after the building claims it has no choice but to remove the tree in order to comply with the Government's "fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats" guidance.

The Christmas tree is removed from the hallway every evening and weekend

The rules were issued by officials in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire.

BPHA housing association, formerly the Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association, said that they are required to keep communal areas of the housing block clear in order to prevent obstruction in the event of an evacuation.

One resident in the block went as far as to claim Christmas had been "spoilt" by BPHA's decision.

"It is not a hazard, it is a nonsense," Michael Heywood said to The Telegraph.

Boswell Court's housing association, BPHA, blames Government guidelines

"When families, friends, children, and grandchildren come to visit, they’ll think how miserable is this place?

"Where is the Christmas tree? Where are the decorations? It’s crackers."

The 79-year-old has lived in Boswell Court for 14 years and said he was frustrated at the way the matter had been handled.

It is unclear whether the Christmas tree will be on show for December 25 itself or whether the bank holiday means that it will remain locked away.

A spokesman for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "In this instance, BFRS did not receive any request for instruction on Christmas trees in foyers or communal areas.

"There is a duty on the responsible person for the building to reduce the risk to persons from fire to as low as is reasonably practicable."

A BPHA spokesman said: "While we empathise with customers who want the tree to remain in place for 24 hours each day, we have a duty to ensure the building is safe."