RESIDENTS of a Weymouth street have been left shocked and angry after receiving a letter from the council threatening enforcement action over their flower displays.

Wesley Street in the Park District is recognisable for its attractive floral planters outside doorsteps on the street, and neighbours have hung bunting between their homes in a bid to create a sense of community.

Dorset Echo:

But that is now under threat after Dorset Council Highways wrote to residents informing them they are breaking the law by obstructing a public highway, after 'a number of complaints' were made.

The letter warns that the planters 'constitute a nuisance' and that enforcement action will be taken unless a planting out licence is obtained, usually costing in the region of £300, whilst they must also move the flowers off the highway.

The council has since said it is 'suggesting issuing a licence free of charge.' But residents described the letter and its wording as heavy handed and said it was "a complete shock."One resident, Jude Butler, said: "After all our efforts to make the street look nice, I was absolutely gobsmacked.

"We have created a sanctuary, a little piece of paradise - we don't have back gardens so it is somewhere we can sit outdoors, speak to our neighbours, and enjoy growing things. To say I'm angry is an understatement."

The floral displays have been the labour of love for several years but came into their own during lockdown, with neighbours holding a socially-distanced VE Day celebration on their doorsteps and hanging bunting.

"After the last 18 months, having a nice place to sit has really brought the street together," Jude added. "It's very sad that someone feels the need to ruin things."

Dorset Echo: Residents enjoy sitting outside amongst the blooms and say tables and chairs are taken indoors when not in useResidents enjoy sitting outside amongst the blooms and say tables and chairs are taken indoors when not in use

In an area affected by some of Weymouth's highest levels of anti-social behaviour, residents say that, if anything, their efforts should be encouraged.

Debz Medlicott, who also lives on the street, said: "It feels as though we are being punished for taking pride in where we live. People treat our street with respect - everyone comments on how lovely we've made it. Elderly people from (nearby residential home) Swannery Court come here because the flowers cheer them up."

Residents say their displays leave adequate room for emergency vehicles to pass. Meanwhile, they claim that cars regularly drive down the street at fast speeds, despite access being prohibited, and that complaints to the council have so far fallen upon deaf ears.

Debz added: "Nothing is ever done to replace broken locks on the barriers at either end of the street. Children play outside - if cars come down here it is a safety risk. But as soon as someone complains about flowers, we receive threatening letters."

Dorset Echo:

No response was offered by the council when asked about cars using the road illegally - however the local ward councillor did praise residents for making the area look attractive.

Councillor Jon Orrell, Dorset Council’s Melcombe Regis ward councillor, said: “The residents of Wesley Street have made their area very attractive and we do not want to change that.

"But we have had several complaints about planters restricting the highway for maintenance and emergency access. So we are asking that the planters are moved back a bit. And to firm up this agreement we are suggesting that we issue a planting out licence free of charge. We have a visit planned next week to talk with Wesley Street residents about the issues that have been raised.”