Former soldier forced to take down flagpole with Ukrainian flag

·2-min read
Nigel Hart erected the 4.5-metre post in Canterbury to show his support for Ukraine. (SWNS)
Nigel Hart erected the 4.5-metre post in Canterbury to show his support for Ukraine. (SWNS)

A former Territorial Army soldier has been forced to take down a flagpole with Union and Ukrainian flags over health and safety fears.

Nigel Hart erected the roughly 14ft (4.5-metre) post outside his mum’s council house in Canterbury, Kent, to show his support for Ukrainians as they battle the Russian invasion.

But the Canterbury City Council ordered the 33-year-old to take it down due to safety reasons and because it is in a communal area.

Hart had defied the council’s order, but workers dismantled the flagpole on Thursday.

Canterbury council said: “We folded the flags and left them with Mr Hart.

“The dismantled pole, which was plastic and made up of several lengths, was also left with him at his request."

Read more: Satellite images appear to show second mass grave near Mariupol

Nigel Hart had defied a council order to take down the pole. (SWNS)
Nigel Hart had defied a council order to take down the pole. (SWNS)

Hart, who served for two years in the Territorial Army, had hit back at the decision and said he had no plans to remove the flagpole.

He put it up to back Ukraine, following the Russian invasion in February and as civilians continue to be bombarded with missile strikes.

He also put up the flags in support of the British Armed Forces and his fallen comrades.

Read more: Russia has made ‘no major gains’ in past 24-hours as Ukraine counterattacks, says UK

Hart added: “I feel really strongly about what’s going on in the world, being a former soldier myself. What’s going on in Ukraine is like World War Three.

“And I have many friends that are serving soldiers, I have friends that have been out [to fight in other countries] and haven’t come back.

“And this is why I’ve put the pole up, to show my support.”

Watch: Ukrainian prime minister: Mariupol 'biggest humanitarian catastrophe'

But the city council told Mr Hart to take it down, saying the space is designed to be used by all their tenants and could injure someone if it fell.

A spokesman for the authority said: “The tenancy agreement people sign up to when moving into a council home is very clear that communal areas cannot be used in this way. We have to be fair to all our tenants and apply this rule to everybody.

“In addition, if the flagpole was to fall or be pushed over, there is the potential for injury to people nearby or damage to their property.”

The spokesman added: “We accept this is a sensitive matter, particularly at the current time, and that our decision to ask Mr Hart to remove the flagpole is likely to be divisive.”

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