1. ITV Report

Christmas decorations banned over health and safety concerns

People living in a block of flats in Exmouth have been banned from putting up Christmas decorations outsides their homes - because of health and safety concerns.

The restrictions have been imposed at Dray Court in Exmouth by East Devon District Council - who owns the block.

Dray Court in Exmouth is owned by the local council. Credit: Google Earth

Officials say lights and other festive items such as wreaths in the building's hallways pose a fire hazard.

But neighbour Dr David Barter says he thinks the council is applying regulations "a little excessively" - and that the notice board where the ban was pinned up could be seen itself as a fire hazard.

The whole thing is based on a fire safety report that was carried out a year ago.

It would be good if there could be an easing of rules - it seems a little unseasonal.

– Dr David Barter, neighbour
Valerie Drew puts a wreath on her door in honour of her late parents. Credit: ITV West Country

Valerie Drew says she's disgusted at the council's attitude.

For the past 12 years she has always put a wreath on her front door in memory of her mother and father, Winnie and Leslie Conway.

They aren't just ruining Christmas, they're ruining everything...Now they tell us that cannot have lights or wreaths. It's ridiculous - we are grown-ups, not children.

I don't understand how they are going to catch fire. I don't go to bed with the candle lights on. They think we are senile.

– Valerie Drew, resident

But the council says the measure was taken after a safety inspection by the emergency services.

There are concerns that wreaths and other decorations could be a fire risk. Credit: This Morning

When the fire authority recently inspected our flats they strongly recommended that all communal areas must be kept clear.

If a door catches fire and sets a wreath alight, the flames could flash across the corridor and this is how a fire could spread within minutes.

– Cllr Jill Elson, East Devon District Council

Councillor Jill Elson added: "Of course with Christmas approaching we want everyone to enjoy themselves and we appreciate that decorating for the festive season is something our residents like to do.

"However I know nobody would want this at the cost of creating a dangerous situation that ultimately puts lives at risk."