'Take me to court'
PUBLISHED: 14:00 13 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:29 10 June 2010
A BUDLEIGH Salterton businesswoman said she was prepared to go to court rather than forfeit potted plants placed outside her High Street boutique. Anja Scepanik said Devon County Council's insistence she move two decorative plants on the pavement outside
A BUDLEIGH Salterton businesswoman said she was prepared to go to court rather than forfeit potted plants placed outside her High Street boutique.Anja Scepanik said Devon County Council's insistence she move two decorative plants on the pavement outside her shop by six centimetres was petty.Ms Scepanik was one of scores of traders targeted in the county council's latest clamp down on businesses whose pavement signs and furniture block paths. Highway officials recently visited the town's businesses, ordering traders to remove anything that could obstruct pedestrians after the council received a number of complaints.Ms Scepanik said she was first aware her property had been targeted when she saw a council official kneeling down and measuring the pots.She was immediately told her pots placed on the pavement outside her boutique were causing an obstruction and she must move them by a fraction or take them inside.If she refused, she could have had the pots confiscated or face going to court.The council official left after Ms Scepanik moved each pot six centimetres towards the shop door."I would have gone to court and, if I'd lost, I would have thrown both the pots and the council off the cliffs," said Ms Scepanik. "He said 'have them inside'. I said 'are you kidding?' I couldn't believe it."You try to make the town look good and decorative for people, and the council comes along and does this."The Feathers was also told to remove some pavement signs - or hook them onto the wall outside the pub.Budleigh Salterton Chamber of Commerce chairman Alan Tilbury said: "Individual traders need support, not adversity. "For the past five years, people have had a free rein, putting what they like out on the pavement, obviously sensibly, and there's been no problem."Spar had to take in their plants and now someone supplying those plants has lost their trade."The chamber is very angry."A Devon County Council spokesman said: "We have received complaints about boards and other such obstructions on the pavement along Budleigh High Street and Chapel Street. Unfortunately, because it is an offence under the Highways Act for unauthorised objects to be left on the pavement, we have needed to ask shop owners to remove them.