ELDERLY residents of a sheltered housing complex in Salisbury say “health and safety gone mad”

means they can no longer enjoy the sunshine on benches outside their homes.

Ray Burton, 75, has been told to remove a bench on the pathway outside his ground floor flat at Hedley Davis Court in Cherry Orchard Lane.

Staff from Housing 21, which manages the complex, says the bench is a health and safety problem as it takes up 2ft of space on a 6ft wide pathway.

“It’s health and safety gone mad,” said Mr Burton. “I can’t see the argument at all. There is 4ft of pavement and then there’s the flat grass area.”

He said he is baffled by the decision because elsewhere in the complex there are walkways narrower than the space left when his bench is in place.

His neighbour Marvin Fraser, 75, has also been told to remove a table and two chairs from outside his first floor flat, which have been there since he moved in 16 years ago.

“It’s been there that long and there’s never been an accident,”

said Mr Fraser. “It’s absolutely crazy.

“I’ve got nine children and quite a lot of them come to visit; there’s no space for them to sit.”

Others have been told to remove flower pots and one resident has even been stopped from parking his mobility scooter outside his home.

Paul Tewkesbury, locality manager for Housing 21, said: “The safety of all our residents is of prime concern to Housing 21 and as such it is important that escape routes are kept clear. I can confirm that we have asked a resident at Hedley Davis Court to remove a bench because it could impede the safe evacuation of residents in the event of a fire.”