A SCHOOL caretaker is refusing to take down a Lancashire rose flag from outside his house after landlords Bolton at Home told him remove a flag pole.

Dad-of-five Paul Rushton was handed a letter by officials, asking him to remove flags from outside his home in Johnson Fold.

The letter, which has upset Mr Rushton, has been shared on Facebook more than 400 times.

But Bolton at Home insists tenants are allowed to fly national flags, so long as they seek permission before putting up flag poles in their gardens.

The caretaker at Bolton St Catherine’s Academy said he has no association with political parties — but simply wanted to express his patriotism.

Mr Rushton had not asked for permission from Bolton at Home before putting up the flag pole in his front garden.

The 45-year-old, who lives in Hollin Hey Road, said: “I asked if I could appeal against this decision. They said yes and passed me a form to fill out, but I was told by the two officials I would lose my appeal.

“There are at least six flag poles I know of in the Johnson Fold area which have been up for numerous years, as well as many flags placed on properties.”

The Bolton Wanderers fan added: “I fly a Lancashire Rose, Union Flag and the St George’s Cross.

“I feel the way Bolton At Home are dealing with this is wrong as I am not a member of any social or political party. I’m just patriotic to my country.


“I don’t want to cause trouble in any way and just feel this is wrong as all I am doing is flying a flag.”

In April, Bolton Council passed a motion encouraging all of the borough’s schools to fly the Union Flag in their grounds.

A Bolton at Home spokesman said tenants were allowed to fly any flags so long as they meet government guidance, which includes any country’s national flag and any representing a UK county or town.

The Bolton News:

He said: “We apologise to Mr Ruston who received this letter as we didn’t clearly explain our position on flags and flag poles, which we’d like to clarify.

“Firstly, our customers can fly any flags if they do it in a way that meets government guidance.

“Secondly, we ask customers to seek our permission before putting up flag poles as we have to ensure they comply with the government guidance and that they are safe structures. This was the intention of our letter.

“Finally, we want customers to enjoy expressing their patriotism and we only investigate cases that fall outside of the government’s guidance.”

While the letter is addressed "dear residents", Bolton at Home say the letter was sent only to Mr Rushton.

Mr Rushton has now put in an appeal against Bolton at Home’s order.