Angry residents have slammed a Housing Association after they were banned from flying England flags during the World Cup – as they could be ”offensive”.
Proud England supporters at St Bartholomew’s Court riverside apartments in Cambridge were up in arms after being ordered to take down their flags.
Wherry Housing Association, which manages the 80 flats, sent a letter warning residents to remove ”offensive” flags from their windows and balconies.
But disgruntled residents are up in arms at the ”ridiculous” order which the Housing Association say is in breach of their contracts.
The letter from Wherry Housing Association stated: ”It is considered the flags are a nuisance and could be offensive to others.”
Primeminister David Cameron last week announced that the England flag – rather than the Union Jack – will fly over Number 10 during the World Cup tournament.
But furious residents have hit out at the management of St Bartholomew’s Court for depriving them of their chance to show support to their team.
Resident Bridie Lenagham, 32, a council worker and former army servicewoman, had to remove a flag from her balcony before the England squad’s first game on Saturday.
She said: ”I just think the whole thing is ridiculous. It’s only for a couple of weeks. It’s disappointing the company has done this.
”They let us put up Christmas trees. Some might say that’s offensive, so why not the England flag?”
But Bridie has refused to be defeated by the management’s ruling and has found a way to display her flag from her flat which overlooks the River Cam.
She added: ”We had it over our balcony but they said it is breaching our lease agreement to have the flag externally so we’ve put it in the window – that’s internally.”
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, could not contain his disgust when he read the letter and tore it up.
He said: ”It’s just totally pathetic. If you can’t fly the flag during the World Cup then we might as well just give up.
”I don’t know what this company is thinking. The flag is not offensive. That’s like saying England is offensive.”
Wherry Housing Association, based in Arbury, Cambridge, manage several other properties in the city where they allow flags to be flown.
A source in the association said that staff resented having to send the letter but were forced to by parent company Atlantis Estates.
The source said: ”We think this is ridiculous and we were reluctant to send the letter. We have streets we manage here in Arbury that are covered in England flags.
”Residents have put on a fantastic display of support for England.”
But Andrew Strong, managing directer of property managers Atlantis Estates, a subsidiary of Atlantis Group, defended the company’s decision.
He said: ”We have been trying to get that flag down for two or three weeks.
”This is not about offending other people but is part of the leasehold agreement which some residents have asked us to act on.
”If we were to allow this there could be 80 or 90 flats that could have lots of different flags flying.
”People may start flying Conservative Party flags at the next election. Someone might think the Olympics is as imprtant as the World Cup and fly flags during the games.”
In Lancashire the county council has banned employees from displaying England flags on official vehicles.
In Kent, the council has prohibited taxi drivers from displaying flags and workers at housing association Bolton At Home are banned from having flags on their own cars.
And refuse collectors for contracter Enterprise have been banned from having England flags and paraphernalia in their cabs – as it blocks their view.