A little local trouble

A weekly round-up of rural rumpuses

The quiet Derbyshire village of Coton-in-the-Elms has fallen foul of the flowerpot police. This summer, the village came third in the East Midlands Village-in-Bloom competition by decorating its grass verges with flower pots made out of concrete pipes. The competition over, the Parish Council made the mistake of applying for a licence for the pots. Four months later the County Council replied, saying the pots were a hazard to motorists, an obstacle for maintenance workers and would have to be removed.

Mr Roy Pritchard, chairman of the Parish Council, said: "I think we have paid the penalty for going through the official channels ... It is absolutely stupid, especially when other villages have got exactly what we've got and we are the only ones being challenged. We are going to fight it - we are not removing the pots." The row continues.

The charms of the village of Flaxton, near York, have been threatened by interference from a different quarter. The roots of three mature trees - a beech, a horse chestnut and a sycamore - on the village green have been damaged by the over-zealous attentions of Yorkshire Water.

The company had to dig a trench for a water main across the green, and instead of leaving the recommended six metres between the trench and the trees, they left one metre from the beech, 1.4 metres from the chestnut,and 3.4 metres from the sycamore. As a result some of the roots were severed, which could weaken and even kill the trees. The company pleaded guilty to three offences of wilfully damaging trees and were fined pounds 700, with pounds 270 costs.

More than 24 tonnes of curdled milk blocked an A-road near Dorchester, Dorset, this week after two wheels fell off a tanker and it overturned. A police spokesman said that the driver was uninjured but "the smell at the scene was horrendous".

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