A public-spirited gardener has been told she could face prosecution for criminal damage after sprucing up a neglected patch of land in a car park.Oh oh, you can see what’s coming next, can’t you?
Green-fingered Jayne Bailey gave the concrete island on her housing estate a makeover as the 30-year-old cobbles were coming loose and becoming a safety hazard.
So she removed the stones and replaced them with flowers from her own garden and from friends, turning a crumbling eyesore into a bright display that won praise from some of her neighbours.
However, she has since been told by Cornwall County Council to rip out the flowers and replace the cobbles herself - or foot the bill for contractors to do it.Because the police haven’t got anything better to do in Cornwall than respond to reports of Aggravated Flower Arranging…
'In a letter I have been told I have 28 days to replace it or they will come out and do the work and send me the bill,' said Mrs Bailey, who is in her 50s.
'They also threatened that they would go to the police and report me for criminal damage.
Many of Mrs Bailey's neighbours in Bodmin have welcomed the new greenery.Now, that’s expecting a sensible approach, so you were on a hiding to nothing there, weren’t you?
Naomi Luke said: 'It looks a lot nicer. It was disgusting before.
In fact it was a hazard. Now it is somewhere everyone can enjoy and looks pretty.'
It is not Mrs Bailey's first brush with town hall bosses for showing the kind of initiative that many would see as entirely praiseworthy.
Five years ago she planted an overgrown area on the estate that was being used for fly-tipping.
'They threatened me then too,' she said. 'I do not want to make a claim on the land - I just don't want it turning into a dumping ground.
'I was told to replace it then but I didn't - how do they expect me to get brambles that I cut down?'
A spokesman insisted the council backed residents who wanted to spruce up the public areas around them but added: 'This is done in partnership with ourselves to ensure appropriate plants and maintenance.'Councils keep and maintain lists of ‘appropriate plants’?
I wonder what’s on them – and more important, what’s not?
Black Eyed Susan – out. Domestic violence shouldn’t be encouraged.
Foxglove – out. Animals wearing clothing compromises their welfare.
Michaelmas daisies – out. Not inclusive enough to other faith’s festivals.
Honesty – out. Too judgemental.
Johnny jump up - out. Offensive to the disabled.
Pansy - don't even go there!
In fact, it’s hard to see what would be in…
Update: A song for the council, couresy of Newgate News...