December 11 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 11, 2013
Red-faced council bosses have admitted a potty mistake after sending a letter to a public toilet asking whether a nearby shop should be allowed to sell alcohol.
This is far from the first time Norwich City Council has made headlines for daft decisions and laughable letters.
In 2001 officers were so worried about children being knocked down while gathering conkers that they decided to chop down horse chestnut trees.
Protests from families and a Norwich Evening News petition led to a U-turn.
The same year, people living in Normandie Tower in Rouen Road were told to take down their window boxes in case they fell on someone. That was reversed after public outcry.
Also in 2001, the council banned the use of bouncy castles on its land, because of the risk it could be sued if someone was injured.
In 2008, hairdressers around Norwich were warned by the council not to offer customers a festive tipple, such as mulled wine, because they did not have licenses to serve alcohol.
The council subsequently said the letter should not have been issued and conveyed “entirely the wrong message”.
And in June this year, the council told an award-winning gardener that her pot plants were a health and safety hazard and needed to be removed.
The letter, from Norwich City Council, was addressed to “the occupier” of the “public convenience next to 150/152 Magdalen Street”.
It informed them that a nearby shop had asked the city council for permission to sell alcohol and invited them to comment on the application.
The letter, from licensing manager Ian Streeter, stated: “The city council is committed to ensuring local residents are fully aware of any applications that have been received”.
It contained details of the the application and invited “the occupier” to fill in a form saying whether they supported or objected to the licensing application.
And, as if that blunder had not bogged down the authority in enough embarrassment already, the city council owns the loo and closed the public toilet more than decade ago.
The brick building, which is sandwiched in an alleyway between MF Reeve furniture shop and the remains of the city walls, is boarded up and padlocked. Not surprisingly, its graffiti-strewn wooden door does not feature a letterbox.
The city council, perhaps looking to put a lid things, held its hands up and admitted a daft mistake had been made, pinning the blame firmly on a computer.
A council spokesman said: “We pride ourselves on how we carry out consultations over issues which will potentially affect people and as part of that we’re always keen to consult with a broad spectrum of people who usually have different views on the same topic.
“That said, on this occasion, we’ve clearly been over enthusiastic. We’ll be having a stern word with the computer in question that issued this particular letter!”
The letter was forwarded to the Norwich Evening News by an anonymous reader, although that still begs the question as to where it was actually delivered.
Highlighting the unusual address, the reader wrote on the letter: ‘Through the keyhole: Who lives in a home like this?’
The licensing application which the toilet occupier was asked to comment on was for E And J Euro, at 163, Magdalen Street.
They have asked the city council for permission to sell alcohol from 9am until 10pm Monday to Sundays. Nobody from the shop was prepared to pan the city council for its mistake.