Pub was told to take down its Jubilee flags
A PUB has fought back after it was ordered to take down its royal flags during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Shocked licensee Michael Drake received a letter from Warwick District Council, telling him to remove the Royal Standard from outside his premises before the celebrations began.
But the Queen Victoria pub in High Street, Leamington, has stood its ground and refused.
He said: “We put the flags up to celebrate the Jubilee weekend but the council said displaying the Royal Standard flags was ‘unlawful advertising’.
“Every lamp post in London had the Royal Standard on it at the weekend.”
Mr Drake says he only hung the flags during the week leading up to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and questioned why other pubs were allowed to fly the Irish flag while his patriotic gesture was appreciated by customers and Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White, but not officials.
He said: “We have had American tourists, we had five people from Australia yesterday who were having their photo taken outside the pub because it was the Jubilee.”
It is not the first time Mr Drake has clashed with the council. More than a year after changing its name from the Pig and Fiddle and repainting it, he was ordered to return the Grade II listed pub to its earlier state.
Even after he persuaded officials to let him change the pub’s name - it was listed while part of a chain - they are still ordering him to use a colour from a ‘heritage’ palette.
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Almost every day brings a new letter from officials - about a satellite dish somebody else put up, outside lights that have always been a feature, and a ‘beer garden’ sign.
Mr Drake contrasts his pub’s appearance now with 16 months it spent derelict, boarded up and used by drug addicts, and says he is deciding whether to board it up again and move away.
He said: “I turned it into a thriving business. I’ve made it look right. I even named it right and all I’m doing is getting kicked in the teeth.”
He added: “If they force me to change the property, I will close it. They are being totally unreasonable.”
A Warwick District Council spokeswoman said: “The Queen Victoria is a Grade II listed building within Leamington’s conservation area. The district council’s planning enforcement team is currently investigating alleged unauthorised changes to the building and is in contact with the licensee in that respect.”
Under the Town and Country Planning Act it is an offence to display flags other than those of countries and counties, the Commonwealth, the European Union, the United Nations or those of saints without consent. The Royal Standard is flown at Royal palaces or residences when the Queen is present. It may be flown on any building during a visit by the Queen, if the owner requests.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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