London, Jun 26 (ANI): British families living in a flat block have been told by council officials to remove welcome mats from their porches, as they are a health and safety risk.
The families, at the block in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, have also been told to remove potted plants because they create trip hazards and fire risks.
Residents say that the items have never caused any problems, but council officials claim that if people have to evacuate the properties in the event of a fire they could trip over the obstacles.
Annette Ball, a grandmother who lives at Port Vale Court, said the rules were ridiculous.
"We've tried to make our porches homely, but we're not even allowed to have a picture on the wall," the Telegraph quoted her as saying.
"We are going to officially appealing against these new rules," she stated.
The fire regulations came in a year ago, but the latest inspection by Stoke City Council left them with a number of concerns.
John Daniels, the council cabinet member for housing and neighbourhood services, defended the decision.
"Fire regulations that apply to places like Port Vale Court are becoming more stringent every year," he said.
"Our most recent inspection of these premises showed that items such as pot plants and carpets in the foyers did not comply so we have asked for these items to be removed to make the building safer," he explained.
Fiona McEvoy, spokesman for council and taxpayer watchdog the Taxpayers' Alliance, said she could not believe the ban.
"Councils should concern themselves with providing vital public services rather than interfering with the lives of good, honest people," she said.
"Public money should be spent on thins we really need, not bizarre health and safety whims," she added. (ANI)