A council in Essex which forced a pub landlord to take down gay pride flags, following a complaint from the parish council, has issued an apology.

Nick Stock, Tendring council leader, apologised for the way the situation was handled, and offered to meet the owner of the pub. he described his council’s handling of the situation as “insensitive” and “ignorant”.

He told the Clacton and Frinton Gazette: “My understanding is government legislation exists to control unauthorised advertising, although in this case I am not convinced that the rainbow flag would necessarily constitute a breach of those regulations.”

“However, the pub is in the heart of a conservation area and if there were three flags flying, of any description, then I can quite understand why the parish council would have needed the issue looked into.”

The three flags were hanging at the front of The Lion, in the village of Ardleigh, close to Colchester, but Tendring Council enforcement chiefs said that they had to be taken down after the parish council complained.