Homeowner faces £3k bill after council cuts down 'eyesore jungle' outside house

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The overgrown garden in Eastbourne, East Sussex (Image: Eastbourne Borough Council SWNS)
The overgrown garden in Eastbourne, East Sussex (Image: Eastbourne Borough Council SWNS)

A homeowner faces a whopping £3,000 charge after the council chopped down the 'jungle' that was growing outside a house.

The owner had left their garden to grow into an out-out-control "jungle", and the council had no other option but to cut down the shrubs and slap them with the hefty fine.

Despite the homeowners promising to sort out their garden after complaints, contractors from Eastbourne Borough Council were forced to attend the property.

Neighbours were left reeling and complained to their council about the "horrendously overgrown" eyesore in Eastbourne, East Sussex, last July, where the property owner promised to get rid of undergrowth plot within three months.

However, they ended up doing anything but tending to their garden and huge shrubs, the authority said.

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"Taking enforcement action is a last resort" the council said, but they were forced to wade through and hack back the bushes with chainsaws to gain access to the garden some three months later - in late October.

Homeowner faces £3k bill after council cuts down 'eyesore jungle' outside houseThe owner had his garden grow into an out-out-control "jungle" had his plants chopped down by a council (Eastbourne Borough Council SWNS)
Homeowner faces £3k bill after council cuts down 'eyesore jungle' outside houseNeighbours complained to their local council about the “horrendously overgrown” eyesor (Eastbourne Borough Council SWNS)

Then, they began the mammoth two-day cleaning operation, where they even found a greenhouse covered completely by ivy.

A section 215 untidy land notice was served by the council that gave the nightmare neighbour three months to tidy up their land.

Serving the owner with this notice allowed the council to demand land be cleaned up when it "damages the amenity" of a neighbourhood.

But, before issuing one town halls need to consider the site's condition, the impact on the surrounding area and the scope of their powers.

And since 1999, round 80 per cent of such notices issued nationally have been complied with such a notice.

Homeowner faces £3k bill after council cuts down 'eyesore jungle' outside houseThe overgrown garden in Eastbourne, East Sussex after it was cleared by the council (Eastbourne Borough Council SWNS)
Homeowner faces £3k bill after council cuts down 'eyesore jungle' outside houseThe homeowner promised to get rid of undergrowth within three months but ended up doing nothing (Eastbourne Borough Council SWNS)

Speaking about the clean-up, Councillor Colin Swansborough, cabinet member for place services at Eastbourne Borough Council, said after the garden was eventually cleared: "Taking enforcement action is a last resort, but those who ignore the advice of our officers should be in no doubt that we will take direct action if needed.

"Quite understandably some residents in Park Avenue wanted this horrendously overgrown garden jungle cut back.

"I'm all for giving wildlife a home and allowing the grass to grow and hedgerows to flourish, but this was beyond any reasonable interpretation of that approach to gardening."

The charge on the house was made to cover the costs of the clearance work, and will be recovered when the property is sold.

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A court hearing was not needed to put the charge on the property as the notice issued by the council was ignored by the homeowner, Eastbourne Borough Council said.

Milica Cosic

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