A florist in Birmingham has been told by council killjoys that he faces a court appearance if he continues playing Christmas carols on his flower stall as the annual ‘War on Christmas’ resumes.
City council scrooges have ordered 52-year-old Allan Poole to stop playing the traditional music that accompanies his Christmas flower display, reports the Birmingham Mail. Vowing that he will continue as he has for the last 10 years until magistrates slap a legal ban on him, Mr. Poole said:
“This is a nonsense. It’s Christmas and I’m playing Christmas music like every other trader…
“I have played carols through a speaker for more than 10 years and during that time have not had a single complaint.
“Every business plays music, including the German market. That is what happens at Christmas and the council needs to realise it.”
Mr. Poole’s ‘Central Flowers’ stall sits at the edge of the city’s Christmas German Market, close to a popular soapbox site for street preachers. He explained:
“At times the noise is deafening. We have all kinds of religious groups here and the racket they make has given me headaches, yet I’ve never seen the council do anything about them. Customers complain about them.”
The first Mr. Poole knew of the offence his stall was causing was when two street wardens approached him to discuss the Christmas carols. At that point he thought the matter was closed, but it wasn’t.
Last week he received a letter from Birmingham City Council’s environmental department drawing his attention to the Control of Pollution Act 1974, specifically section 62:1b. Officials accused him of advertising his business through the sound system — not so, said Mr. Poole:
“All I’ve ever done is play Christmas carols. I haven’t ‘plugged’ anything I’m selling.
“We dress the stall and put up two, three-and-a-half metre toy reindeer. The customers love it and last year donated £400 to the Children’s Hospital.”
A Birmingham City Council spokesman told the Sunday Mercury: “It is an offence under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 to use a loudspeaker in the street for the purpose of advertising any entertainment, trade or business.
“This is national legislation which applies to all businesses, regardless of what they are selling, but does not apply to buskers or street preachers who are not classed as traders under this piece of legislation. Council officers have already spoken to Mr Poole about this matter and we have also written to advise him that breaching this legislation could result in legal action being taken against him.”
Mr. Poole has not given in, however.
“What am I doing about this?” he asked, pointing to the council document.
“Nothing, I’m not budging.”