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Furious couple claim neighbour’s overgrown garden slashed value of home by £20k

3 min read

A couple have claimed that their home lives are being made a misery due to their neighbour's 'overgrown' garden – with towering bushes that blocks their sunlight.

Fred Sweenie, retired RAF musician and his wife Janet claim that the towering greenery is affecting their mental health.

The elderly pair say they are unable to enjoy being outdoors due to the trees and bushes towering over their semi-detached home.

82-year-old Mr Sweenie has also claimed that he's seen rats coming into his property.

The elderly man says the situation is so bad, that he feels trapped and thinks he could never sell his home, StaffordshireLive reports.

Mr Sweenie once reportedly had an estate agent look at his property in Rugeley Road, Burntwood, and claims he was told the state of next door's garden would knock at least £20,000 of the value of his house.

The disgruntled home owner says he has not seen anyone in the house for the last 15 years and has been complaining to the council for the last 12 years.

He said: "We have no light here. I think it is disgusting. We cannot sell the property either.

"Every time we try to do something it gets blocked. We don't know why. We first moved into the property in 1982.

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"The last time we saw someone at the property was around 15 years ago. Our first complaint was around 12 years ago."

Mr Sweenie said that things became so bad that he eventually contacted MP for Lichfield Michael Fabricant.

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Mr Sweenie said: "By 2017, the garden next door was having a serious impact on our health and wellbeing. Rats had started to appear in our garden and we could see the holes where they were coming in. We reported it to environmental health. No response there.

"So we went to Mr Fabricant who was fantastic. He wrote numerous times to the council requesting a full investigation into the property.

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"When they did undergo a full investigation, they said that the property was occupied and that, apart from one shed that was full of food waste that had to be knocked down, there was no need to do anything else. When they told me that, it felt like someone was stabbing me in the chest.

"It made me very ill and we dropped the inquiries in 2017. I was getting nightmares. That was the worst time I think. The house combined with the rats and the fact that we get no light in our garden because of the towering trees really made me ill."

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Head of corporate services at Lichfield District Council Tracey Tudor said: "Having visited the garden on Rugeley Road a number of times, we have found that, although it is overgrown, it has a clear path from either end, has plants rather than weeds, and is not covered in litter or dumped items.

"The owner has told us that he likes his plants and trees to attract wildlife. While the garden may not be to everyone’s taste, we do not believe it breaches any planning laws that govern complaints of this nature, and when comparing it to similar cases."

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