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Case 292 - Pre-school staff were asked to remove flower and vegetable pots from a garden

Issue

A pre-school which uses a garden managed by the local parish council and a designated public open space, has been told that they cannot leave pots of flowers and vegetables grown by the children in the garden claiming health and safety reasons, and asked for them to be removed. The pots were placed by posts holding up a small patio area and on slabs surrounding a shed. They have been told that someone may trip over the pots and sue the parish council. The pre-school has removed the pots but are unhappy because the children no longer have the learning opportunities the growing of the plants and vegetables would have allowed.

Panel decision

It is potty to impose a blanket ban on these standard garden items. These are everyday risks and the parish council appears to be risk-averse in case they are sued. If there are real concerns about people tripping over pots the council should discuss these with the pre-school staff instead of depriving youngsters of the opportunity to learn by growing their own food and flowers.

2014-06-23