Action taken over untidy land

A Kingswood garden which has been an eyesore for many years has been dramatically improved after South Gloucestershire Council took direct action to clear the site, much to the appreciation of the locla residents.

Despite negotiations with the owner of the New Cheltenham Road property, Michael Summerill, and two successful prosecutions against him, Summerill failed to carry out any of the works required to tidy the property.

As a result, the state of the property continued to have a detrimental impact on the amenity of the area and the council took the decision to step in, removing more than 7.5 tonnes of waste during a five hour clear-up operation.

Cllr Brian Allinson, executive member for planning, transportation and the strategic environment, said: “This garden was a real eyesore and because it was in a high profile area, also had a real negative impact on the local residents. By stepping in and sorting things out we have improved the neighbourhood and residents have already been in touch to say ‘thanks’.”

Following complaints from local residents in October 2007, letters were sent to Summerill requiring him to improve the front, side and back garden of his property.

Despite repeated correspondence no improvement was witnessed and a section 215 Notice for Untidy Land was served on Summerill in January 2008 requiring various works to tidy the property. The Notice required compliance by the following March. However, following a site visit none of the work had been carried out and the property was still untidy.

The matter was brought before Yate Magistrates’ Court in June last year. Summerill failed to attend court and in his absence was fines £390 and £487 costs were awarded to the Council.

Following the Courts’ decision and further correspondence with Summerill, he failed to improve the condition of the property. The Council pursued a second prosecution and Summerill was fined a further £615 for non compliance with the 215 Notice and further costs of £400 were awarded to the Council by the Magistrates’ Court in March this year.

Despite these two successful prosecutions no attempt was made by the owner to improve the condition of his property and the land remained untidy.

As a final resort the council was forced to intervene. After notifying Summerill and with the co-operation of local police, the council’s Street Care team entered the property on 8 October and carried out tidying work. The cost of this operation will be levied as a charge against the property.

Source: South Gloucestershire Council