Should fines be issued for messy front gardens?
I’m looking for a place to buy at the moment, and a front garden that’s full of junk is a real turn-off. A government antisocial behaviour proposal suggests fining people who leave rubbish in their front garden.
I’m house hunting at the moment, and as an avid gardener, a good garden is important to me. But it’s not just my garden that’s important to me – it’s the others in the street.
Even a garden that’s just unkempt is off-putting, so I can understand that householders feel that messy gardens blight their street, especially if they’re trying to sell or rent out a property.
Garden Criminal Behaviour Orders
A government White Paper on antisocial behaviour has proposed that people who leave rubbish in their front gardens could be fined or taken to court. But in fact, councils already have the power to prosecute people who are neglecting their plot.
Stephen McGlade, a Which? Legal Service lawyer, says:
‘Councils have long since been able to intervene and ask an owner or occupier who neglects a piece of land to tidy up the site, and to fine them if no action is taken. Anyone can complain to the council about the condition of any land in its area. The council may also act without a complaint being made.’
Eyesore Gardens Scheme
The Barking and Dagenham area must be looking pretty smart these days, because its council has been using its existing powers to run its Eyesore Gardens Scheme for the last three years. The scheme dealt with 3,050 untidy gardens last year – an average of more than eight per day. That’s a hell of a lot of messy gardens that needed some attention, and suggests that the problem is pretty widespread.
But what constitutes an ‘untidy’ garden, exactly – or a ‘health hazard’ for that matter? Piles of rubble, broken fridges and old mattresses presumably count, but what about gardens that are just overgrown? One woman I know sowed a wildflower meadow in her front lawn, and drew complaints from her neighbours, who thought the un-mown look spoilt the look of their street.
What do you think constitutes a messy garden, and have you approached your council about a troublesome garden in your area? How quickly was it dealt with?
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