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Gardeners asked to remove champion blooms

North Tyneside gardeners who won awards for sprucing up their street have said they have been asked to remove hundreds of pots because of health and safety concerns.

For the last six years people living in Rockcliffe Avenue, Whitley Bay, have nurtured hundreds of plants in front of their homes.

Last year they won first place in the North Tyneside in Bloom contest in the community category for their planters.

However, following a complaint, the council investigated and said the planters are causing an obstruction of the highway.

It said the individual pots should be replaced with standard containers which "comply with the safety requirements."

Michael Kelley has looked after most of the plants on the street and has vowed to fight the council's decision. A petition against the changes already has 400 signatures.

"The council said we need new planters, but what difference will that make to the apparent obstruction?

"North Tyneside Council is saying it is a health and safety matter, but the street cleaner can get down here, and there's a man who uses a wheelchair in the street and he has no problems."

– Michael Kelley

"North Tyneside Council appreciates the efforts of residents of Rockcliffe Avenue over the years.

"However, the number of planters has increased to an extent where they obstruct the pavement, particularly for those with accessibility needs. Not all residents agree to the scale of this community effort and have concerns about impact on the pathways.

"Under highways legislation we have an obligation to protect the rights of the public at large to use the highway safely and we are working with the residents to try and achieve this.

"If residents agree the council will encourage them to apply for grant funding to ensure that any planters that are used meet the required standards and comply with the safety requirements."

– A spokesperson for North Tyneside Council

Open garden day to support St Oswald's

The gardens at Whalton Manor are being opened up to the public Credit: St Oswald's Hospice

An open day is being held at gardens across Northumberland to help raise money for St Oswald's Hospice - a charity that provides specialist care for North East adults, young people and children with life limiting conditions.

The open gardens event is taking place this weekend Credit: St Oswald's Hospice

Whalton Manor Gardens, Meldon Park house and gardens, Chipchase Castle grounds, Chillingham Castle gardens, Kirkley Hall gardens and Mindrum garden will all be open as part of the Open Gardens weekend which is taking place this weekend

Duchess of Northumberland meets gardening school pupils

The Duchess of Northumberland Credit: ITV

The Duchess of Northumberland will officially open a student garden in Morpeth later. It has been designed to encourage pupils at Chanty Middle School to better understand the role plants play in natural world.

The project is lottery funded and involvement will be part of cross curricular studies.

The Duchess, who has a keen interest in gardening herself, will tour the school, meet some of school pupils and staff before cutting the ribbon to mark the official opening.