A housing group has been dubbed the "Grinch" of Christmas after banning a Christmas tree and six-foot snowmen from a retirement home in Aberystwyth. Residents of the retirement home Gerddi’r Ffynnon in Trefechan were shocked on Monday 18 December when they were told that Christmas decorations would not be allowed in communal spaces from 2024.

A housing officer for Wales and West Housing, the group that runs the accommodation, raised fire safety concerns over a Christmas tree sitting in the hall and residents lounge and a six-foot paper snowman sitting at the bottom of a stairwell next to the front door.

The offending snowman
The offending snowman (Cecilia Curran)

Cecilia Curran, the 76-year-old retired teacher and a new member of Gerddi’r Ffynnon, said: "This is the last Christmas for residents of Gerddi’r Ffynnon.

"It's very Scrooge at Christmas isn't it? It seems a bit mean. Residents feel this is woke gone too far.

"We're all really upset. The man who put the snowman up has trouble expressing himself and he was really hurt. I think I'll look for somewhere else to live if they start saying 'you can't do this, you can't do that'."

George Ryan, a 77-year-old retired coach operator has lived at the complex for four and a half years.

He said: "It's about the risk assessments but getting petty. I'd rather keep it fun. There have been no problems with decorations in the past- it's woke gone mad. To say you can't have a Christmas tree is stupid."

This week the residents also threw a decorating competition, challenging festive neighbours to outdo each other at decorating their front doors.

However just as the first and second prizes were awarded, the same housing officer came to tell them their door decorations would also need to be taken down.

Cecilia said: "It's beyond belief, really."

In response to the residents' complaints Wales and West Housing said they carry out fire risk assessments regularly to protect residents.

They cited large items in communal spaces are banned including "Christmas trees and large festive decorations" as well as pushchairs, bicycles, and mobility scooters "that may block fire escape routes or fuel a fire".

The statement added: "Gerddi’r Ffynnon is home to more than 40 residents, many of whom are elderly and disabled, and we have a responsibility as their landlord to make sure they are kept safe.  

"Therefore, we have asked the residents to move these items from the fire escape route in line with the fire policy for the building, for this year and future years.  

"We do not prevent all decorations in communal areas, but they must be proportionate and not compromise fire safety. Residents may decorate the inside of their own apartments as they wish. 

"If the residents of Gerddi’r Ffynnon want to decorate their communal lounge, our staff are happy to speak with them to identify suitable decorations and areas where they could be put up that would not pose a risk to residents."