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Ex-soldier in Union Jack dispute with St Helens Council says he is flying the flag as a tribute to fallen comrades
A FORMER soldier is battling over the right to fly the Union Jack in his garden as a tribute to fallen comrades.
Martin O’Neill, who has served with the 1st Battalion, Duke of Lancaster’s regiment in Iraq and Afghanistan, says he has no intention of taking his 10ft flagpole down, despite receiving a warning letter from the council, threatening legal action.
The 27-year-old salesman from Chestnut Grove, Laffak explained: “I put up the flag as a memorial to four mates I lost in Afghanistan. It’s my way of showing respect, but it seems some of my neighbours have complained to the council, who sent me a snotty letter saying I have to take it down.
"It says it’s not suitable for the area. They claim it’s in breach of planning control and any development should ‘respect the character’ of the local site.
“This is in my garden, in front of my house. If people had a problem I’d rather they come to me than go to the council.
“The latest council letter says I’ve failed to respond to their notice within seven days and they are going to pass the matter on to their solicitor.
“But if I do take it down, there will be no further action taken.”
A council spokesperson explained: “We are in talks with Mr O’Neill to resolve the issue.”