BUNTING put up in town centres to celebrate the summer of national pride was mistakenly taken down – on the day of the Paralympics opening ceremony.
Businessman Mike Joines, who said he’s been enjoying every moment of the Diamond Jubilee and Olympic celebrations, said he was stunned to see a contractor carefully taking down the red, white and blue bunting from Park Parade, in Leigh Park, on Wednesday.
Mr Joines, the owner of Zoom Hairdressing, said he felt he felt it was a ‘gaffe’ on Havant Borough Council’s part and disrespectful to the Paralympians.
But the following day the council admitted it had been a mistake to take down the bunting – which was also in Havant town centre – and has ordered contractors to put it back up.
Mr Joines said: ‘It’s great they’ve acted so quickly, they didn’t have to. But they shouldn’t have messed up in the first instance.
‘All it would have taken is someone in the council to have been aware of what was going on with the Paralympics.
‘It was a really important day. The opening ceremony was truly spectacular. And it was very emotional.
‘Is everyone at the council so hidden away they didn’t realise it was happening?
‘This summer has been amazing, we didn’t want the Olympics or the wave of emotion to end.
‘We are clinging on to the Paralympics.
‘That’s why I was so miffed when I saw the bunting being taken down.
‘I didn’t think it was all over until we said goodbye to the Paralympics.’
The council said it was trying to get to the bottom of why the flags were taken down.
A contractor had been employed to do the work and has now been instructed to put them back up until the Paralympics end on September 9, rounding off a fantastic summer for the UK.
Gill Kneller executive director at Havant Borough Council said; ‘The bunting was taken down prematurely.
‘This was a mistake and we apologise for any upset that this has caused our traders and residents across the borough.
‘It was not our intention to have the bunting taken down this early in the year. There was clearly a misunderstanding and the bunting will be put up again as soon as possible.’