English House Flags - a missed opportunity.

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Martin Goldstraw
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English House Flags - a missed opportunity.

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 01 Oct 2012, 13:30

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On the 26th September the (UK/English)Government announced a liberalisation to the regime for flying flags, which it says will give a boost to patriotic pride, after a Summer of success that has seen national and community spirit flying at an all-time high. I had hoped that Heraldic Flags would be released from their tether but, alas, this was not to be. Heraldic Flags were previously lumped under the term “House Flags” which, broadly speaking were thought of as advertisements that have deemed consent as set out in Schedule 3 to the Regulations: “Classes of Advertisement for which Deemed Consent is Granted”.

• Class 7A permits flags with the name and/or the device of the person occupying a building (‘house’ flags) and sales flags (advertising a specific, time limited sale) subject to such a flag being flown from a single vertical flagstaff on the roof of a building, having a character/symbol no higher than 0.75m (or 0.3m in an area of special control) and, in the case of a sales flag, being displayed for a specific event of limited duration.

This means that, unless planning consent is sought (at a cost over £300) “House Flags” can only be flown from a vertical pole which is fixed upon the roof … in other words; you can’t erect a flag pole in your front garden. The original proposal was to extend the categories of flags that do not need consent included any heraldic banner of arms or flag granted by Her Majesty’s heraldic authorities. However, it turned out that “In light of representations received, the proposal to permit any heraldic banner of arms or flag granted by Her Majesty’s heraldic authorities to be displayed without consent (paragraph 16, bullet 5 of discussion paper) has not been taken forward within the final Regulations. This retains the current position, whereby displaying such flags (where they are not displayed as house flags at the appropriate buildings) requires the express consent of the local planning authority.”

Perhaps we in the heraldic community just didn’t lobby hard enough?

The Government’s response to an earlier consultation and its decisions can be viewed at
http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents ... 218194.pdf
and the original consultation paper can be viewed at
http://www.communities.gov.uk/publicati ... egimeflags
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steven harris
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Re: English House Flags - a missed opportunity.

Postby steven harris » 01 Oct 2012, 14:18

seems rather silly to specifically ban or disallow heraldic flags.
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Re: English House Flags - a missed opportunity.

Postby GJKS » 01 Oct 2012, 15:44

[quote="Martin Goldstraw"]
... which it says will give a boost to patriotic pride, after a Summer of success that has seen national and community spirit flying at an all-time high.[quote]

Patriotic pride?? It never ceases to amaze me that so many in the UK aoppparantly don't know when they are flying their national flag upside-down! :lol:
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Re: English House Flags - a missed opportunity.

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 01 Oct 2012, 16:45

GJKS wrote:

Patriotic pride?? It never ceases to amaze me that so many in the UK aoppparantly don't know when they are flying their national flag upside-down! :lol:


Fortunately, I don't have that trouble ;)

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The National Flag of England.
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Re: English House Flags - a missed opportunity.

Postby Chris Green » 01 Oct 2012, 18:12

Fortunately Sweden is more enlightened (in this regard). I regularly fly my English vimpel.
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Re: English House Flags - a missed opportunity.

Postby Jonathan Webster » 01 Oct 2012, 19:45

GJKS wrote:
Martin Goldstraw wrote:... which it says will give a boost to patriotic pride, after a Summer of success that has seen national and community spirit flying at an all-time high.

Patriotic pride?? It never ceases to amaze me that so many in the UK aoppparantly don't know when they are flying their national flag upside-down! :lol:


-Excuse me for being a pedant in pointing out that the Union Flag technically isn't a 'national' flag.

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Re: English House Flags - a missed opportunity.

Postby JMcMillan » 02 Oct 2012, 00:49

Jonathan Webster wrote:-Excuse me for being a pedant in pointing out that the Union Flag technically isn't a 'national' flag.


From the Hansard, House of Lords, 14 July 1908:

EARL HOWE
My Lords, I rise to ask His Majesty's Government, with a view to removing any possible doubt that may exist on the subject, whether it is a fact that the full Union Jack may be flown on land by every citizen in the Empire as well as on Government Offices and Public Buildings.

THE EARL OF CREWE
My Lords, the noble Earl asks me, with a view to removing any possible doubt that may exist on the subject, whether it is a fact that the full Union Jack may be flown on land by every citizen in the Empire. As many of us know, there has existed in the public mind a curious confusion as to what flags may be flown and what may not. At one time it seemed to be believed that the Royal Standard could be flown anywhere and by anybody. That, however, as we now know, is not the case. It was formally announced that the Royal Standard is the personal flag of the Sovereign, and cannot properly be flown without His Majesty's permission, which is only granted when either the King or Queen is present. But, of course, a very different state of things applies to the Union Jack. I think it may fairly be stated, in reply to the noble Earl, that the Union Jack should be regarded as the National flag, and it undoubtedly may be flown on land by all His Majesty's subjects.


Lord Crewe was Lord President of the Council and the Government's leader in the House of Lords. His statement should therefore be taken as an official position.
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Re: English House Flags - a missed opportunity.

Postby Jonathan Webster » 02 Oct 2012, 11:40

JMcMillan wrote:
Jonathan Webster wrote:-Excuse me for being a pedant in pointing out that the Union Flag technically isn't a 'national' flag.


From the Hansard, House of Lords, 14 July 1908:

EARL HOWE
My Lords, I rise to ask His Majesty's Government, with a view to removing any possible doubt that may exist on the subject, whether it is a fact that the full Union Jack may be flown on land by every citizen in the Empire as well as on Government Offices and Public Buildings.

THE EARL OF CREWE
My Lords, the noble Earl asks me, with a view to removing any possible doubt that may exist on the subject, whether it is a fact that the full Union Jack may be flown on land by every citizen in the Empire. As many of us know, there has existed in the public mind a curious confusion as to what flags may be flown and what may not. At one time it seemed to be believed that the Royal Standard could be flown anywhere and by anybody. That, however, as we now know, is not the case. It was formally announced that the Royal Standard is the personal flag of the Sovereign, and cannot properly be flown without His Majesty's permission, which is only granted when either the King or Queen is present. But, of course, a very different state of things applies to the Union Jack. I think it may fairly be stated, in reply to the noble Earl, that the Union Jack should be regarded as the National flag, and it undoubtedly may be flown on land by all His Majesty's subjects.


Lord Crewe was Lord President of the Council and the Government's leader in the House of Lords. His statement should therefore be taken as an official position.


-The 'first' Union Flag (incorporating the Cross of St. George and the Saltire of St. Andrew) of 1606 predates the Union of England and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain by a good century. It was intended to be a royal flag for use at sea; and certainly was not intended to be the 'national flag' of Britain or the British People, as neither the British state nor a concept of british nationality existed at that point (regardless of a little wishful thinking on the part of James I&VI), and to this date; even with the subsequent restyling of the flag in 1801 to accomodate the Saltire of St. Patrick, it remains a Royal flag and not a national one.

It has; of course, been used de facto as a British national flag, and it is today used effectively as the national flag with royal approval. But it remains de jure a Royal flag; somewhat similar to the way the Portcullis used in the British Parliament remains de jure a royal badge even though effectively it's the badge of parliament (in a way). I'm not denying it's de facto the national flag, but as with most things in Britain; such things are borne largely by convention (though there is a Royal Warrant specifying the flag) rather than constitutional law like it is in so many other countries that have the exact colours and proportions of their flags set out exactly; and a throwaway comment in the House of Lords certainly doesn't make it so in law.

Well anyway; getting back to the point in hand; is there any reason why heraldic flags were exempt from this; or is it simply a case of the people deciding this being ignorant of the existence of heraldic flags?

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Re: English House Flags - a missed opportunity.

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 02 Oct 2012, 15:06

Jonathan Webster wrote:
Well anyway; getting back to the point in hand; is there any reason why heraldic flags were exempt from this; or is it simply a case of the people deciding this being ignorant of the existence of heraldic flags?


I believe that it is a missed opportunity because from reading the final legislation and comparing that with the original submissions it seems to me that the heraldic community simply isn't large enough (vocal enough) to have any form of effective lobbying ability. Whilst heraldic flags haven't lost any privileges, in that they can still be flown freely from their owners roof top as house flags, we have not achieved the complete freedom gained by sports clubs (and the gay pride movement) who may now fly their flags anywhere and however they wish without being restricted to the property of their owner. One of the reasons that flags (other than those which have gained exemption) are deemed to require permission is because it is thought that people might fly them in such a way that they might form a nuisance to their neighbours. Presumably sports clubs etc are not thought to be as much a nuisance as armigers! There have however been some minor concession and the general rules for House Flags appear to have been slightly relaxed:


No need for express consent if the flag is attached to a single flagstaff projecting from a building (other than vertically from the roof).

A restriction of size of flags flown from projecting flagstaffs (other than those projecting vertically from the roof).

A requirement that flags cannot be flown from projecting flagstaffs within areas of special control and other areas with protective designations.

Advertisements will be allowed on no more than two flags on flagstaffs not attached to a building, or one on any premises and one freestanding, apart from in areas of special control and other areas with protective designations.

No restriction on symbol or character size on flagstaffs projecting vertically from a building apart from in areas of special control and other areas with protective designations.

The Government believes that these minor changes to the proposals in the discussion paper will still provide selective freedom on the siting of flags, but at the same time take account of comments about controlling the size of flags projecting from buildings, and protect areas with conservation and heritage assets.


The saving grace may be the paragraph
Advertisements will be allowed on no more than two flags on flagstaffs not attached to a building, or one on any premises and one freestanding, apart from in areas of special control and other areas with protective designations.
We must, it appears, convey the impression that in flying our ensigns we are advertising!
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Re: English House Flags - a missed opportunity.

Postby Jonathan Webster » 02 Oct 2012, 15:15

Forgive my ignorance on the matter, but what is the position as regards House Flags in Scotland?


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