Daventry District Council takes action to clear overgrown garden

The contractor spent three days there, filling five trailer-loads and a skip in the process.
The contractor spent three days there, filling five trailer-loads and a skip in the process.

A garden that was so badly overgrown it was causing damage to neighbouring properties has been cleared following enforcement action taken by Daventry District Council.

Years of neglect had turned the back garden of the house in Holyoake Terrace, Long Buckby into a tangle of untamed weeds, plants and rubble that was causing adjoining fences and walls to deteriorate.

The garden before it was cleared

The garden before it was cleared

It was so overgrown that the contractor sent in by DDC to clear the garden recently spent three days there, filling five trailer-loads and a skip in the process.

The council had got involved following complaints about the state of the property from residents and first tried to persuade the owner, Patricia Russ, to tidy it up.

When that approach failed, the council served a Community Protection Notice requiring the garden to be cleared.

But when that too was ignored, DDC was left with no option but to prosecute Mrs Russ for breaching the notice.

The garden after it was cleared

The garden after it was cleared

The case was heard at Northampton Magistrates’ Court on May 2, 2017, when Mrs Russ, of Grasscroft in Long Buckby, was convicted in her absence and fined £440, plus costs of £858.15 and a victim surcharge of £44.

Magistrates also granted the council a Remedial Order allowing them entry to the garden so it could be cleared – work which was carried out last month. Mrs Russ has since been served with a notice requiring her to pay for the cost of the clean-up.

Councillor Mike Warren, health and housing portfolio holder on Daventry District Council, said: "Enforcement action is always a last resort but we have a duty to the residents whose lives were being affected by the state of the garden and, having exhausted all our other options, we had to take this matter to court.

"The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 has given councils tough new powers to act where we believe that the quality of life of residents is being detrimentally affected by the failure of householders to maintain their properties in a reasonable state.

"People should know that we are ready to use those powers where it is necessary."