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Council mulls gardens blitz
PLANS to launch a crackdown on eyesores caused by overgrown gardens at derelict homes are going before the council next week.
Swindon Council’s planning committee on Tuesday will debate using enforcement powers to force people to spruce up the town’s overgrown and untidy gardens at abandoned and derelict properties.
The notices could see offenders fined up to £1,000 for land that has an adverse effect on the surrounding area.
Examples include incomplete developments and untidy front gardens.
“Most councillors and residents know of at least one property which is abandoned and derelict and becomes a local eyesore, or whose garden is overgrown and there is a refusal to keep it even maintained,” said Coun Heenan.
“The use of section 215 notices to solve these problems is something which the council doesn’t do very frequently and is a last resort.
“However, there are times when the council must draw a line in the sand, and needs a stick that it is prepared to use.”
He said within three days of the council agreeing to use these powers on a bungalow in Covingham, which had been abandoned for many years, the owner agreed to sell rather than leave it derelict.
“As a result of this casework, I asked officers to present a report to the planning committee on using section 215 orders.
“I want a review of how they are used to ensure they are used effectively, and promote knowledge of the possible action to all councillors and local residents.” said Coun Heenan.
The scope of works that can be required to be carried out within a section 215 notice include painting, clearance, tidying, demolition, enclosure, planting and repairs.
These must be undertaken by the owner within a set period of time.
Once a notice has been issued, if the owner does not take action, the council could fine them up to £1,000 and/or carry out the work itself. In that case it is entitled to recover the costs from the owner.
Council officials have seen an increase in the number of questions, specifically from councillors, in relation to overgrown and untidy gardens in the last year.
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