Wednesday, 21 March 2012


In truth there is very little these days that gets my goat – other than lazy people and shopping in Tesco's in pyjamas – subjects covered in previous blogs. But there is another matter that has annoyed me recently and that is petty bureaucracy and so-called “jobs-worth”.

The owners of a Lancashire fish and chip shop have been forced to take down their Union Jack (Union Flag) sign, as it was described as "gaudy" and "too busy".

Husband and wife owners Peter and Lesley Salthouse have run the Naze Lane Chippy in Freckleton for almost 25 years and were told the sign was not in keeping with the village.
The sign has a simple, but prominent Union Flag in the middle, with two St George's flags on either side.

The couple lodged a planning applicaton after a single complaint spurred the council to take action, but it was denied. They then took their case to the planning inspectorate in Bristol, but they were again rejected.

Lesley, 53, was furious at the council’s decision and said: "We are an English fish and chip shop, yet we cannot even use our own flag to celebrate that”.
Mr and Mrs Salthouse outside their chippy
She added: “Everything else seems to be allowed from different backgrounds, cultures and nations and yet you try to fight for something English and British and it’s snubbed, as far as I’m concerned.”

In fact, Freckleton Parish Council approved the planning application, but it was Fylde Borough Council that denied it on the basis that the design was "oversized and gaudy with too many angles, triangles and colour".

Lesley added: "The council called the sign too busy and gaudy, and by saying that they are effectively insulting the national flag and our history".

Too many angles, colours and triangles? Do I need to take more water with my drink? The Union Flag has been in existence in this form – more or less – since 1606. The current version can be traced to 1801, following the Act of Union in 1800. What do you expect from the Union Flag design-wise, for Heaven’s sake? Flags have angles and triangles... Even an amateur vexillologist will tell you that!

And what are they putting in the hotpot up there in Fylde? Stupid pills? What next - barber's poles to be removed because they have too many stripes or maybe pawnbroker's signs should be changed because they have an excessive number of balls!

I would think twice if you’re considering celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in Lytham St Annes later this year – all bunting will be confiscated anyway and anything geometrically resembling a triangle, or has any other form of angle to it, will be seized the minute you leave Blackpool.

Beggars belief!

Local politicians and nappies have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for much the same reason.

Malt Cross
16 St James's Street,
Tel: 0115 941 1048


  1. Hi,
    this made me chuckle, the response to this subject has been immense !!!.
    We are the said Peter & Lesley, of Naze Lane Chippy.

    We have recently had a meeting with the senior planning officer in order to sort this mess out.
    We have had to do something so show that we have altered the appearance of the shop.
    We were told that they, the council have been unindated with letters, phonecalls, emails etc etc, in support of us keeping the shop sign, people have been outraged.
    We feel that maybe that the council have been put under a little pressure and have now come to an agreement.
    We had to Take Down Our External Lights, We have had an official letter saying that this is the end of the matter and we can now keep our Union Flag sign and the St-Georges signs that are on either side.
    So, People Power & Common Sense Has Prevailed.
    Kind Regards Lesley & Peter

  2. Good work - common sense prevailing indeed! Thank you for taking the trouble to send your comment... Best of luck!


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