Landowner pleads guilty for overgrown garden

08th May 2019

A landowner from Oxhey Hall pleaded guilty to failing to carry out three specific steps as required by the Council’s Section 215 Notice to clear her extensive overgrown rear garden.

The property in Hampermill Lane, Oxhey Hall had been left in poor condition which resulted in the Planning Department issuing two Section 215 Notices (untidy land notices) over the last few years with a view to improving the amenity of the property which had blighted the visual amenity of the street scene and neighbouring properties. 

While the Notice dealing with the front garden was complied with, the owner failed to comply with the requirements of the Notice in respect of the rear garden, even after being granted an extension by the Council. 

On sentencing, the Chairman said: "We have listened to both sides and note your guilty plea. This type of anti-social action is a blight on communities and causes a lot of grief and upset to neighbours which as to be considered. The vegetation in the back is extensive and has clearly been there a long time; longer than two years. 

“We sentence you to a conditional discharge on each offence for two years. If you commit a similar offence during that period, you will not only be punished for that offence, but you will be resentenced on these offences which you have pleaded to today.”

The landowner had immediately prior to the court date complied with the Notice; however, she was still guilty of three offences of failing to comply within the required time frame. She was required to pay the Council’s costs. The same owner also has another property within the district which is also subject to an on-going Section 215 Notice. 

The Council has witnessed a worrying trend in recent years whereby several properties within the district are being left vacant with no consideration to on-going maintenance which has left properties extensively overgrown and in poor physical condition.

To tackle such situations, the Planning Department can issue a Section 215 Notice requiring specific steps to be carried out if the condition of the land is adversely affecting the amenity of an area. If the Notice is not complied with the Council can undertake direct action by executing the works in default and charging the owner, and it can prosecute given that failure to comply with a Section 215 Notice is an offence under the Planning Acts. However, nine times out of ten landowners are happy to work with the Council to avoid formal action.