The Marlowes centre in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire banned Brownies and Girl Guides from putting on a carol concert for pensioners and the disabled at the shopping centre.
The centre had decreed that they posed a health and safety risk because they could obstruct fire escape routes.
A parent, whose daughter was in the Guides said:
“They will use health and safety to stop anything. Even though it is Christmas, they forget about having fun.”
Bosses at the Marlowes centre later admitted that the ‘risk’ was caused by them putting a 25ft Christmas tree where the 100 or so girls used to sing – and that could cause a bottleneck if dozens of shoppers stopped to listen.
If the fire risk assessment had been carefully reviewed prior to the siting of the Christmas tree, an alternative tree or location could have been found and the carol singers would have been able to perform as usual.