laurence perry and the offensive gnomes in wistaston

Green-fingered Laurence Perry’s cheeky garden gnomes have sparked a rumpus in Wistaston – and a council letter threatening action!

Laurence, who has helped transform derelict council land in the village for the last four years, added the gnomes baring their bottoms as part of colourful displays on grass verges.

But the 77-year-old was stunned when he received a letter from Cheshire East Council highways bosses threatening action unless he removed them.

The council claims the two ornaments baring their backsides have sparked complaints from other residents.

Laurence, of Westfield Drive, Wistaston, has now been given seven days to remove them.

He told Nantwichnews: “I feel very disappointed, really.

“My daughter bought them for Father’s Day as a bit of fun as she knows I like a laugh. These things are in discount stores in their hundreds on shelves.

“How can they be classed as offensive?

“I put them up two weeks ago – no one ever approached me to complain or ask for them to be removed. The next thing I know, this heavy-handed letter arrives.

“I’ve worked with others for four years to turn a piece of land which had been left overgrown, covered in broken bottles and bricks, into a more attractive area.

“It’s all been self-funded as we were turned down for funding by the parish council.

“We even bought the sign that says ‘Wonderful Wistaston’ – now I feel like replacing it with one that says ‘Miserable Wistaston’.”

Laurence Perry, wistaston gnomes, CEC letter

The letter, from Cheshire East Council senior highways officer Andrea Bickerton, states: “It has been brought to our attention that several ornamental displays and items have been placed on the highway verge in Wistaston.

“I am sure that your intentions are meant to be humorous and light-hearted. Unfortunately, not everyone shares the same sentiment.

“You are required to therefore remove them at your earliest opportunity. If you fail to remove them, the Council will remove them and recover from you the expense of doing so.”

Retired Laurence, who has qualifications in horticulture, added: “All we’ve tried to do over the past four years is improve the area where we live – and it’s all been self-funded.

“I could get many more volunteers if I wanted, the support on the whole in the village has been tremendous.

“But not from the parish council. There are certain people who have lived in communities for many years who don’t like newcomers, regardless of their experience.

“We placed a nice colourful bench on the land, and it was ripped up a few weeks later for no reason! We’ve put it back since, and concreted it in.

“I’ve been in Wistaston for seven years now, but still feel like an outsider, which is awful.”

Now Laurence is resigned to removing the ‘offensive’ ornaments.

“I’ll put one on my wall – as that’s my land. And I’ll replace the other with a gnome with his trousers on! Hopefully, no one will find that offensive!” he added.

“You’d think Cheshire East highways had more important things to worry about – like clearing out all the gulleys full of weeds.”

A Cheshire East Council spokesman told Nantwichnews: “While we do not wish to spoil people’s fun, there is a safety issue here as such objects could easily cause a distraction to motorists and other road users, leading to an accident.

“We received a complaint about these ornaments which, while seemingly harmless, are designed to attract attention and light up at night.

“Therefore, we have to take steps to have them removed in the interests of road safety and the safety of pedestrians.”

rumpus in wistaston caused by laurence perry's gnomes


  1. Jeremy Gibbs says:

    The Council are only acting on a complaint from a local resident and the Highways Team are only doing their job. Whilst the planting area looks very pretty, it is not the residents’s land, so certain rules apply. The resident can put as many garden gnomes as he wants in his own garden.

  2. Paul fish says:

    No offence to me or my children brings a smile to my face on the way to work don’t let the nuggets grind you down

  3. Dave Axon says:

    I have the exact same model in my garden in Andalucia. The local council has not complained about this one, the 98 other gnomes, concrete statues or wooden model of Stonehenge (Gnomehenge).

  4. Stephen Coines says:

    What a horrible old hag who has complained about a harmless family of gnomes. What a sad woman to try to undo what a nice man has tried to. However, this is what one expects from people in this area – let me out! It’s hoped that his flowers last long enough to put on her coffin and bring a smile to our faces.

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