Haslemere trader in flag row

The flags flying outside The Silkroad
The flags flying outside The Silkroad

A ROW has blown up in Haslemere after a trader was accused of being ‘anti monarchy’ for flying black and white versions of the Union flag outside his shop.

Sahran Abeysundara flew the flags outside his designer accessories shop The Silkroad on Wey Hill to celebrate British Fashion Week.

But he was astounded when a woman who did not give her name, but claimed she was a former mayor of Haslemere, demanded he remove them.

He was then visited by a representative from the town council who claimed there had been more complaints that his flag was ‘an act of treason’.

And now an enforcement officer from Waverley Borough Council has been to see the flags and told him to remove them.

“It’s beyond ridiculous,” Sahran told the Observer.

“These flags were designed ten years ago for British Fashion Week and I was flying them to promote this year’s event. “I was told they were not appropriate because they are not the standard version of the flag. There is no standard version.

“The entire British Olympic team wore several versions of the Union flag in gold, yellow and blue throughout the games last year.

“To accuse me of being anti-monarchy is beyond belief.

“I am probably the most royalist Haslemere resident there is.

“I have four paintings of the queen hanging in my shop.

“Only last week I visited Buckingham Palace because we like to go when it’s open to the public.

“Our shop window was specially decorated for the Diamond Jubilee and we went to London for some of the celebrations.

“What really angers me is Waverley Borough Council (WBC) thought this was so important they sent someone straight over, but when we call them regarding issues like streets not being swept and potholes not being mended they never come.”

One town councillor who supports Sahran is Brian Howard: “My personal view is there is absolutely nothing wrong with this and the business in question is doing its best to add vitality to the retail environment.”

A spokesman for WBC said: “We received complaints about the flags. In accordance with the adopted local planning enforcement plan, Waverley is committed to investigating complaints made in respect of alleged breaches of planning control.

“A planning enforcement officer visited the premises to establish the facts.

“We are currently assessing the need for consent and the expediency of any action that may be possible.”