Patriotic Lancashire decides the Union Flag will flutter above County Hall in Preston every day of the year

County Hall is to fly the Union Flag every day of the year as a show of national pride.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 4:55 am

But the imposing building in Preston will now need a second flagpole for other standards it raises on specials days.

Plans have been passed to take down the existing eight-metre mast on the top of the LCC headquarters and replace it with two six-metre ones around four metres apart. The work will cost an estimated £2,800.

And the council is also looking at erecting two new eight-metre flagpoles at ground level facing Bow Lane.

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The Union Flag at half mast on County Hall in April following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

The authority had been told it could have flown two flags on the existing pole on the roof, as long as the Union Flag was on top.

Yet the idea was abandoned because the additional weight raised fears that high winds could topple the mast, putting the adjacent West Coast mainline at risk. Network Rail wrote to the council to raise its concerns.

"The flagpole and any flags must be secured in such a way as to prevent any topple over or accidental blowing of flags onto the railway," said Diane Clark, a town planning technician at the rail company.

The decision to fly the Union Flay 365 days a year follows the Government decreeing in March that all its buildings on mainland Britain would do so.

The County Flag was lowered in February in honour of Captain Sir Tom Moore.

At the time Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden described the flag as "a proud reminder of our history and the ties that bind us."

He added: "The union flag unites us as a nation and people rightly expect it to be flown above UK government buildings - this guidance will ensure that happens every day."

The Government has since encouraged local authorities to follow suit from this summer.

LCC said in its planning application: "One of the fixing bolts to the existing mounting brackets to the flagpole needs to be replaced. To facilitate this replacement the existing flagpole needs to be taken down. Due to the age of the flagpole, the opportunity is being taken to replace the flagpole with a new one.

Network Rail were concerned a flagpole could topple causing danger to rail users running alongside County Hall.

"The County Council recognises the change (of) regulations which came into force on 24 June 2021, which allows for two flags, including at least one national flag, to be flown from the same flagpole.

"However, the second flagpole proposal is favoured over this option due to concerns over the magnitude of additional stress that wind loads from two flags would have on the flagpole and on its wall mounting brackets and fixings."

Prior to this year's changes government buildings were only required to fly the Union Flag on 22 designated days which included the Queen's birthday, the birthdays of other Royals, Remembrance Day, patron saints days and the Queen's opening of Parliament.

Coun Phillippa Williamson, leader of LCC, said: "We're very proud to fly the Union Flag as well as all the other flags which mark particular occasions throughout the year such as Lancashire Day and Armed Forces Day.

"The current flagpole on top of County Hall needs to be renewed due to its age and, while considering a proposal for its replacement, we have realised that this is also an opportunity to make our flagpoles more visible, as their position on top of County Hall means they can't always be seen very easily, particularly from the side of the building which faces away from Preston city centre.

"We're proposing to erect another flagpole alongside when the current one is replaced in order to be able to fly other flags for special occasions alongside the Union Flag, and are also considering a proposal to place two new eight-metre flagpoles at ground level next to Bow Lane.

"We hope this will help to strengthen the county council's association with all the flags we fly, and the important occasions that we recognise on behalf of all Lancastrians throughout the year."

Strict regulations are in force about how the Union Flag ought to be flown. If there are two flagpoles then the Union Flag should be higher than the other standard, or should be on top if two flags are displayed on the same pole.

Other flags currently flown at County Hall throughout the year mark Lancashire Day, Armed Forces Day, Historic County Flags Day, Merchant Navy Day, White Ribbon Campaign, and International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.