THE designers of Tour de France knitted bunting which has been taken down over health and safety fears are calling for common sense to prevail as Cambridge University engineers dismissed concerns it could cause lampposts to buckle.

Yorkshire-based knitting business Baa ram ewe said North Yorkshire County Council should be ashamed of its action in removing the miniature white, yellow, green and polka dot jerseys hanging as bunting from lampposts in Masham, near Ripon, North Yorkshire.

The authority asked Harrogate Borough Council to take down the jerseys, knitted by hundreds of schoolchildren, women’s institutes, craft groups and knitters from as far afield as Australia and the Arctic Circle, from lampposts stating the bunting was causing them to bend.

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A county council spokeswoman said although the lampposts in Masham were designed to be flexible to withstand adverse weather, they would not cope with the tension of wire strung tightly between them at the top of the shaft.

She said it was noted during an inspection that several lampposts in Masham, which is expecting 20,000 visitors for the opening stage, were bending as a result of the attachment of the cable.

She said: “We have said all along that we have no issue at all with the bunting being hung elsewhere in the town.”

Masham traders and residents have described the move as “health and safety gone mad” and have since displayed the bunting outside their shops and homes.

Cycling enthusiast Rad Wagon, who has organised a knitted bunting display in Cambridgeshire, where stage three of the race will be held, using the same knitting pattern as used in Masham, said tests had concluded the bunting would not damage lampposts .

Mr Wagon added: "We have a lot of knitting friends who are also engineers at the university and we have carefully weighed the jerseys when both dry and soaking wet.

"We are also using short lengths of twine which means there will not be too many jerseys on each individual line of bunting.”

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said: "We have no such fears about it getting wet and pulling anything over."

Baa ram ewe called for North Yorkshire County Council to reinstate the bunting.

Jo Spreckley, of Baa ram ewe, said: "Local knitters spent many hours making this fantastic bunting, making 26,000 jerseys in total.

“The county council has shown no regard for the very people it represents, and instead has made the bizarre claim that knitted bunting could bend the lampposts.”