Pensioners claim they have been banned from putting up Christmas decorations – after their housing association introduced new ‘ridiculous’ safety rules.
The OAPs living at Rowan Court, in Worcester, said they were told they could not deck out their communal hall in festive style because their trimmings were considered a fire risk.
They claim they have been ordered to take down the Christmas lights they have been using for the past nine years.
But Fortis Living, which runs the complex, has denied there is a ban on Christmas lights.
The new safety regulations have been put in place following the devastating Grenfell Tower fire disaster in London earlier this year.
Pictured from left : Rowan Court residents Alan Price, Dave Brookes and Olive Knight
Olive Knight, 77, who lives at the Rowan Court, blasted the rules, which do not apply to residents’ rooms, as ‘nonsense’.
She added: ‘We have no idea what we can and cannot do now. We were told that the lights are too low down, that they can’t be on the ceiling – it’s just nonsense.
‘I think it is a real shame that we are being told that we cannot celebrate Christmas how we want to. We are all responsible adults and this has nothing to do with Grenfell.
‘We are not going to leave lights on all night or anything, we all look after each other here.’
Mrs Knight’s daughter, Sarah North, said residents had been left ‘miserable’ by the new rules.
The 51-year-old said: ‘It is Christmas for goodness sake. If they can have them in their flat, what difference does it make if they’re in communal areas too?
Pensioners claim they have been banned from putting up Christmas decorations
Mrs Knight’s daughter, Sarah North, said residents had been left ‘miserable’ by the new rules
‘They are being treated like schoolchildren not senior adults. It is not fair for them.’
A Fortis Living spokesman said the new regulations were simply about safety.
He said: ‘We have absolutely no bans in place for LED lights or fairy lights.
‘What we are putting in place are some fire prevention guidelines for trees, lights and decorations in communal areas.’
He said these new rules include ‘not to hang wreaths on doors that face into communal areas or to decorate communal corridors and landings’.
Sue Heelas, assistant director of housing and care at Fortis Living, said: ‘We know Christmas is a special time and we want to do all we can to make sure our tenants enjoy it in the safest way possible.
‘Safety is always a priority for us, and in light of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire earlier this year, we want to be confident that the risk of fire is minimal.
‘These communal area measures will help us to do just that.
‘Tenants are free to decorate inside their homes as they wish, but we would encourage them to follow the same guidance.’