Monday, February 22, 2010

Legal victory allows piles of rubbish to remain

By Guy Martin

A HOARDING homeowner has won a legal victory overturning a council order demanding he tidy up piles of rubbish from his Surrey garden.

Robert Wallace said he stored items to sort through them at a later date and could not understand why people got “on their high horse about it”.

He will now be paid £250 of taxpayers' money by Mole Valley District Council, in court costs.
The 59-year-old retired television engineer was served a notice under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act by the council in May, Guildford Crown Court heard last Monday (February 15).

He was ordered to remove the plastic bottles, tins, newspapers and other waste, cut back overgrown vegetation and leave the land clear and tidy at his Westcott homes, numbers 4 and 8 Furlong Road.

But he appealed against the decision, at first unsuccessfully at magistrates’ court, and then at the higher court.

He told the judge he was tempted to bring the items into court to show how inoffensive they were.

“If you go into a supermarket people don’t find them offensive,” he said.

“If they are not offensive when they are full, why are they so offensive when they are empty? What is offensive about them?”

Mr Wallace explained the reasons he kept the items.

“The original idea is for them to be re-sorted and categorised because there are some items I want to retain,” he said.

“In the meantime I don’t see why I shouldn’t be allowed to accumulate without people trying to get on their high horse about it.”

Robert Primrose, senior planning enforcement officer at Mole Valley District Council, said: “It became apparent the two properties were in a state of disrepair...."