Like making the lives of pensioners in sheltered accommodation just that little bit more miserable:
Residents at Rookery Court, in West Thurrock, are furious after receiving a letter from the authority saying all personal belongings in their verandas must go, even the carpets and ornaments on windowsills, because it presents a fire hazard.Since when? Well, since the Lakanal House fire in London put the wind up all councils and launched a flurry of too little, too late arse covering.
And the fact that this isn't a tower block makes no difference.
Resident Peter Goldsmith, 63, said it has upset everyone there.That was then, this is now. Now, removing the possibility of being sued is far more important than your rights to sit out and enjoy your sunset years.
He added: “This is smacking us in the face. We feel like we are being treated like schoolchildren or geriatrics, which we are not.
“We all know this is about the fire in a London tower block which killed six people, but our verandas are not communal areas.
“The council built the verandas 12 years ago so we could sit on them and enjoy them. Now they will be unusable because we can’t have a chair and table, carpet, or even a picture frame on the wall.”
Oh, and if we have that barbecue summer? Don't think you'll be regulating your own temperature, either!
To add to the residents’ frustration they have also been told by the council they must keep their front and back doors shut at all times to prevent fire spreading, even in summer.Well, at least that'll keep out burglars, or those pretending to be burglars!
Labour ward councillor Andy Smith said the letter is crazy and thinks the residents should just ignore it.Election coming up, Andy, by any chance?
Thurrock Council spokesman Andy Lever said: “We can understand the benefits that arise from items such as plants and ornaments being situated in communal landings and spaces, which help to create a sense of home.Except for the doors - those, you must keep shut.
“However, we have a statutory duty to make sure all of our tenants can escape if a fire should break out.
“We must, therefore, ensure all possible escape routes are kept clear and hazard-free.”
You truly couldn't make it up...