A YUCCA plant — which has cheered up a dreary landing for eight years — has been banned by housing bosses over “health and safety” fears.
Retired husband and wife, Albert Atkinson and Liz Kolkin, placed the pot plant outside their first floor flat when they first moved into Dean Court, Turton Street, Bolton, in 2006.
Now, they have been left baffled after their landlord, Contour Property Services, ordered them to remove it — because it poses a fire risk.
Former hospital worker Mr Atkinson says the removal of the six-foot foliage is “health and safety gone mad”.
But Contour is standing by its demand, arguing that any obstruction in the communal areas could present a fire risk.
An official letter, left on the plant, reads: “In the interest of both health and safety and fire risk, no items of any description are to be left in the hallways/electric cupboards/bin stores.
“Please be advised that you are required to remove these items with immediate effect.
“If after a week your caretaker advises me that the items remain in place then they will be removed without any further notification to yourself.
“If you wish for the items to be returned there will be a fee of £25 payable to ourselves for their recovery.”
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Great-grandmother Mrs Kolkin said she and her husband have so far refused to move the house plant.
She added: “The letter is ridiculous.
“The plant is in a container on the landing here outside the flat, next to the railings that look out on to the ground floor.
“It would not have been in anybody’s way.
“The yucca plant isn’t dangerous. The leaves aren’t spiky, they don’t dig into you, and I can’t see it suddenly burning or going up in flames.
“They want to take away abandoned items — but this plant isn’t abandoned at all.”
There are up to 50 species of yuccas, which are desert plants native to central America. They produce tough, sword-shaped leaves with white flowers.
A spokesman for Contour Property Services said they had asked their customers to keep the area outside their flats clear.
He added: “The safety of our customers is very important. Communal areas must be kept clear at all times as any obstruction can pose a fire hazard.
“A staff member met with Mrs Kolkin recently and most items have since been removed and we will continue to work with her until the area is cleared.
“If any of our customers have any similar queries, then we urge them to get in contact with us as soon as possible.”