Sidmouth landlord hits out at charity over garden occupation

PUBLISHED: 15:55 03 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:55 03 March 2017

Building work in Simon Russell's garden

Building work in Simon Russell's garden


A landlord has bemoaned the garden of his property becoming ‘a building site’ for six months after his charity neighbours erected scaffolding outside his flat.

Building work in Simon Russell's gardenBuilding work in Simon Russell's garden

Simon Russell wants the Cats Protection League, which has a shop in High Street, to give him an indication of when the situation will be resolved.

Mr Russell said the charity is contractually allowed to use his garden for repairs to its property, but feels it should have given him seven days’ notice and the work should be done in a timely manner. He added that his tenant of nearly two years decided ‘enough is enough’ and moved out after assuming he had given his permission.

The charity says the occupants of the flats had been notified and weather conditions had delayed the repairs, which it hopes to complete in ‘the next few weeks’, had been delayed by the weather.

“I only found out a few weeks ago when my tenant said he was moving out,” said Mr Russell, who works in property in Bristol, but plans to move to Sidmouth one day. “I was astounded. It’s never been explained to me how they decided unilaterally to occupy my garden. It’s a building site. It’s the only flat in this price range left in Sidmouth. My letting agent told me it will be hard to let as it is. I spent a lot of time and money fixing the flat and garden up. Now I need to find out how much damage two tonnes of lime mortar will do to a lawn.”

Building work in Simon Russell's gardenBuilding work in Simon Russell's garden

A spokeswoman for the Cats Protection League said it will normally notify owners before planned work, but, in this case, the wall’s condition caused concern, so scaffolding was erected to ensure no sections could fall into the neighbouring garden. She said the occupants of the two flats had been told why the scaffolding had been erected without prior notice and regularly updated since. The spokeswoman said the damage was more severe than first thought and contractors advised that repairs to the render of the premises’ original cob wall need to take place in a period of dry, frost-free weather.

She added: “We hope that the work will be completed in the next few weeks, but this is dependent on the weather.”

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