South West Wales

Prince Charles photo removed from flats over fire fear

Jean Thomas with the photo hanging in the background
Image caption Mrs Thomas has lived at the complex for 13 years

A picture of the Queen and Prince Charles has been removed from outside a Swansea pensioner's flat due to health and safety concerns.

Jean Thomas, 80, was told the photo which hung on the landing wall could hinder rescuers if there was a fire.

Neighbours were told to remove pot plants, a rug and other pictures from communal areas at their retirement complex in Sketty Park.

A council spokesman said landlords must ensure communal areas are safe.

Mrs Thomas hung the picture of the Prince of Wales' investiture on the stairs outside her sheltered housing flat.

But the 2ft by 18ins photograph was taken by the warden.

"It's just silly isn't it?" said Mrs Thomas, who has lived there for 13 years.

"The warden took them down by saying 'It's rules and regulations."

"Apparently the health and safety people said my picture may cause an obstruction or fall off if there was a fire. It is daft."

The photo of the investiture ceremony at Caernarfon Castle in 1969 has a place in the pensioner's heart as she sang in the choir at the service.

"I put the picture up to make it look less like a jail," she added.

"Then the warden took them down without asking permission.

"My mother cut the picture from a magazine and got it blown up and put it in a beautiful frame. I've had it ever since."

Resident Michael Sugrue, 82, said: "The picture is important to Jean because she was in it.

It reminds her of her special day - and she loves the prince.

"It brightens up the place and makes it nicer for everyone else."

The order to clear the communal areas at the 33-bed-complex was made by council officials.

A spokesman said: "Fire safety legislation requires landlords to ensure homes with communal areas and entrances are safe and well protected in the event of fire.

"We have been working closely with the fire service to keep entrances, exit and escape routes free of combustible materials and trip hazards or obstructions.

"We realise some people have personalised these areas to make them feel more homely and we apologise for any inconvenience."