Pensioners describe nightmare of living next to 15ft high weed jungle

‘It’s like using a penknife to get out of the Amazon jungle’: Pensioners describe never-ending ‘nightmare’ of living next to ’15ft high weed jungle’ on former allotment site… that NO ONE is known to own

  • The ’15ft high weed jungle’ grew on a former allotment site in Cleethorpes
  • The local council has refused to fix the problem as they do not own the land

Residents have spoken of their never-ending ‘nightmare’ of living next to a ‘weed jungle’ on a former allotment site that no one is known to own.

Thick brambles, weeds, bushes and trees growing ‘up to 15ft high’ have become so dense and overgrown that the jungle of weeds is now totally out-of-control.

As well as being an eyesore to more than a dozen homes surrounding the site, the roots of bushes are damaging surrounding passageways and the quickly growing foliage blocks access to a sewage drain on the site in Cleethorpes, North-East Lincolnshire.

The local council have refused to do anything as they insist they don’t own the land. Efforts by a group of residents to trace the site owner, in the hope of renovating it and turning it into a community garden, also failed.

So every year the weeds grow bigger and bigger and the problem escalates.

Thick brambles, weeds, bushes and trees have grown out of control on a plot of land

Pensioners have spoken of the never-ending ‘nightmare’ of living next to a ‘weed jungle’ on a former allotment site that no one is known to own

The site has also been a favourite location for fly tipping but many of the household items dumped there have also been covered in weeds.

Pensioner Geoffrey Johnson, 71, and his wife Susan, 59, have lived at their £125,000 Hinkler Street home for three years and has appealed for help to identify the owner.

There were allotments, with sheds and greenhouses, on the land more than a decade ago, but it went to rack and ruin when they were closed down.

‘It’s a nightmare and it has affected our mental health,’ he said. ‘Getting through there is so difficult, it’s like using a penknife to get out of the Amazon jungle.’

‘At this rate in another three years it will be higher than our roof.’

He said: ‘It’s like an actual jungle, some of the brambles the roots are so thick I cannot even span it with my hand. I have to chop it down with an axe. While tree roots are pushing the pavement flags up.

‘We have been in touch with the council and they said they have no idea who owns it. But when I threw some of the tree branches overhanging my garden on to wasteland I got a call from the council saying someone saw me doing it and it was fly tipping and I would have to move them.’

He said the greenhouses and sheds remaining from the allotment era were now hidden from view by the overgrown foliage.

Mr Johnson said: ‘The sewage drain from these four houses in our terrace is on that land. We had it blocked once and I had to fight my way through with my shears and axe and clear all around it so they could come and unblock it. If you leave it a week the weeds are growing so quickly it’s covered again.’

The couple say residents can’t afford legal advice and don’t see how the problem will be solved.

The Johnsons have been told the land is ‘unregistered’, meaning the Land Registry have no record of the owner. 

The local council has refused to cut the ‘weed jungle’ down as they do not own the land 

Chef Karen Unsworth, 61, said she regularly clear the passageway between her house and the land on a regular basis.

She has rented her home for 10 years and the problem keeps getting worse every year.

‘A neighbour down the street and some other residents spent several years trying to find out who owned the land, they contacted councillors and went to Parliament and everything but they just couldn’t find out who owned the land.

‘It’s terrible, there is fly tipping there and it’s a real eyesore. There’s loads of wildlife there and rats and all sorts.’

She said: ‘Over the years it’s just got worse and worse and worse. People used to light fires early in the morning and fly tip things there. There’s double glazing, wood and metal just dumped there, and it’s an overgrown mess.

‘In the summer I’ve noticed all my plants in the garden are covered in black and green flies, and it’s all coming from there. The other dangerous thing is, because a huge sycamore tree is growing on there, it’s pulled all the cement up because the root has come under the pavement in the passage and lifted the pavement, so it’s quite dangerous.’

A North-East Lincolnshire Council spokesperson said: ‘We do not own the land and are not responsible for it.’

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