RAF Veteran Wins Right to Fly Forces Tribute Flags

Posted on September 21, 2017

RAF veteran wins right to fly flags paying tribute to British forces after banned and threatened with a £2,500 fine because they ‘breached advertising laws’

  • Janis Patterson threatened with fine after hoisting up ‘Lest We Forget’ banner
  • Council said they could prosecute for ‘unauthorised display of advertisements’
  • She has been granted planning permission for flagpole almost 12 months on

An RAF veteran has won the right to fly flags paying tribute to the armed forces after she was threatened with a £2,500 fine by her local council.

Janis Patterson, 64, was warned that she could be prosecuted after hoisting up a banner that said ‘Lest We Forget’, in her front garden, in October last year.

The mother-of-two was left stunned when Broxtowe Borough Council threatened to take legal action against her for ‘the unauthorised display of advertisements’.

Ms Patterson, who was a drill sergeant in the Women’s RAF, said she had researched the legality of flying flags outside her home in Chilwell, Nottingham, and believed she was in her rights to do so.

She initially flew a yellow flag with a smiley face before swapping it for one to mark Remembrance Day in November and a Santa flag the following month.

But she has finally been granted planning permission for the flagpole to be in her garden almost 12 months on.

Ms Patterson, who was in the RAF for three years in the 1970s, said: ‘I was very upset when I opened the letter threatening me with a fine.

‘It said it is an unauthorised display of advertisement and it is a criminal offence and I could be fined £2,500.

‘I asked my neighbours if they were okay with it and they said they were.

‘I had emailed the council and searched on Google to make sure it was okay.

‘I searched Google and the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and because it was not above 24ft and I wouldn’t be advertising I thought it would be okay.

‘I am the daughter of an army officer and was in the RAF so I’ve always been around flags.

‘I think they make people happy to see them as they walk past.

‘The kids going to school love them and some residents were looking forward to which one will go up next.’

Planning permission was granted for a four metre flag pole that can display cotton flags on September 12, and it expires on September 12, 2022.

In a planning statement, the council says: ‘The council has acted positively and proactively in the determination of this application.’

A spokeswoman for Broxtowe Borough Council said at time: ‘Flag poles require formal planning permission if they are above a certain height.

‘Residents can receive free telephone advice about a flagpole prior to submitting a formal planning application.

‘Once submitted, each application is judging on its own merits and the council will not pursue any enforcement action while an application is being considered.’

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