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Would jubilee’ve it! Council orders a Royal hush for Sheerness because bunting makes too much noise


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Sheppey’s main town won’t be draped in red, white and blue for the Queen’s platinum jubilee after bunting installed for the celebrations was removed for being “too noisy”.

It means Sheerness looks on course to be crowned among the most miserable places in Britain to mark Her Majesty’s unprecedented 70-year reign.

No bunting for Sheerness to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee as it's 'too noisy'
No bunting for Sheerness to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee as it's 'too noisy'
No bunting for Sheerness
No bunting for Sheerness

Town council chairman Matt Bromley admitted the plastic Union flag bunting which had been hanging across the High Street and Broadway had been taken down after complaints from neighbours

He explained: "We wanted something different this year so we went for a plastic material. But when the wind blew, it made such a racket residents living above the shops complained.

"Rather than cause a nuisance, we have taken it down and are intending to donate it to the shops so they can use it to decorate their windows."

He added ruefully: "It's been a learning curve. We will be going back to material next time."

There aren't any plans to use the town's 120-year-old clock tower either which has just returned after a seven-month £160,000 facelift. Engineers pulled out all the stops to ensure it was back in time for the jubilee celebrations.

Matt Bromley, chairman of Sheerness Town Council
Matt Bromley, chairman of Sheerness Town Council
No bunting or celebrations for Sheerness clock tower
No bunting or celebrations for Sheerness clock tower
How Sheerness clock tower looked with bunting in August 2020. Picture: John Nurden
How Sheerness clock tower looked with bunting in August 2020. Picture: John Nurden

The Grade-II listed clock was first unveiled on June 26, 1902, to mark the coronation of King Edward VII and and Queen Alexandra.

Instead, the council is organising a free picnic with entertainment in nearby Beachfields Park by the sandpit on the seafront Sunday, June 5.

Cllr Bromley said: "The concrete around the clock would have been too hard to have sat on."

The picnic will include dancers, an acrobatic duo, stilt and bubble show and music from the UK Paper Band. It will run from 11am to 3pm.

Just eight street parties are planned across the entire Island although even those will be muted affairs with Kent County Council ruling they must be held quietly and without music or noise.

Union Flag at Minster Leas, Sheppey. Stock photo: Andy Payton
Union Flag at Minster Leas, Sheppey. Stock photo: Andy Payton

Swale Borough Council was also given a black mark for the condition of the union flag flying on The Leas at Minster.

Julie Dyke complained: "I went for a walk and was shocked to see the union flag looking so shabby. Surely Her Majesty deserves a lovely new flag after 70 years of serving us?"

But the council confirmed a new flag will be hoisted up the pole on Monday for the official start of the jubilee celebrations.

The council has ordered five special flags, four of which will fly on Sheppey: one at Minster Leas, one on the Sheerness Gateway council building, one on Sheerness seafront and one in Queenborough Park. The fourth is for Swale House in Sittingbourne.

A spokeswoman for the council defended it apparently taking a back seat in the celebrations.

Bunting in Faversham for the Queen's Jubilee
Bunting in Faversham for the Queen's Jubilee
Jubilee bunting in Maidstone's Week Street
Jubilee bunting in Maidstone's Week Street

She said: “We know from experience that the best way to support celebrations is to help fund community-led events.

"That is why we provided more than £36,000 to community groups earlier this year to help them put on Jubilee celebrations this weekend.

"This was publicised in the local press to ensure people knew how to apply in good time to organise successful events."

She added: “We offered all groups the opportunity to have their event publicised on the Visit Swale website and some have taken us up on the offer. Some smaller events with limited capacity have not advertised so their numbers can be managed.”

By contrast, Sheppey's other town, Queenborough, has taken the bull by the horns and will be lighting its jubilee beacon at Crundall's Wharf at 9pm next Thursday. The 'In Bloom' group has asked residents to knit red, white and blue bunting for a bash in the Castle Gardens park on the same day.

Queenborough Town Council pin badge to commemorate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
Queenborough Town Council pin badge to commemorate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
Times past: How we celebrated the Queen's coronation in Chapel Street, Blue Town, in 1953
Times past: How we celebrated the Queen's coronation in Chapel Street, Blue Town, in 1953

Residents can also take part in a 45-minute High Street Safari until June 12 following the antics of Sir Barnaby Beacon as part of support for Help For Heroes. All you need is a smart phone.

The town council, which is selling special souvenir pin badges for £2 made by local firm HandyPrints, is hosting a Platinum Jubilee picnic in Castle Gardens on the Sunday from 2pm with a baton twirling display, song-signing, jubilee bake-off and a dress-like-a-royal competition.

It has also bought two jubilee flags for the flag poles outside the Guildhall.

Sheppey Miniature Engineering Society celebrates in style over the four-day weekend with special rides on its model railway track from noon to 4pm.

Leysdown Boot Fair is promising a special jubilee edition on Friday with "added attractions" and Leysdown parish council is planning an event on the village green.

Queenborough's beacon will be lit on Thursday evening. Picture: Kevin Weller
Queenborough's beacon will be lit on Thursday evening. Picture: Kevin Weller
Her Majesty the Queen
Her Majesty the Queen

Permitted road closures for street parties on Sheppey include:

Saturday (June 4): Western Avenue, Halfway; Buckthorne Road, Minster; Kent Avenue, Minster; Harold Street, Queenborough; Cecil Avenue, Sheerness.

Sunday (June 5): Hilda Road, Halfway; Thorn Hill Road, Warden; Belgrave Road, Halfway.

* Celebrating on Sheppey? Tell us about it and send in your photos here.

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