Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Baildon man angry at Council's garden deadline
A Baildon man has received solicitor’s letters from Bradford Council warning him to dismantle a community garden which he has cultivated for 14 years by next week.
Matthew Robinson began tending the Council-owned land while recovering from cancer over a decade ago. As well as maintaining the Upper Green site behind his home, where he has lived for 22 years, he planted trees, shrubs and garden features.
He estimates to have spent thousands of pounds on the area over the years, but the Council say his additions encroach on public land.
Earlier this summer the authority told Mr Robinson he would have to remove any “non-native” features but agreed to “work with residents to work out a successful resolution of any issues.”
Last week Mr Robinson received letters from council solicitors demanding he return the land to its original state within two weeks, or they would take legal action and charge him for any works needed.
He said the majority of neighbours wanted the vegetation to stay, and the council should focus its efforts on more important things, adding: “People don’t want these taking away. Before I looked after it there were just brambles, mattresses and rubbish. The council hadn’t maintained the ground properly.
“What’s there isn’t doing anyone any harm, and I have put a lot of money into this. I never wanted to claim the land, just enhance it.
“The Council won’t maintain it, they can hardly look after the roads. When I look after it, it doesn’t cost the Council anything”
He said other nearby properties have encroached on Council land, but the authority seems to be making an example out of him.
Mr Robinson hopes to meet with Council officers before the deadline to see what they will let him keep on the site.
Baildon Parish Councillor Ian Lyons has been liaising with Bradford Council on behalf of Mr Robinson. He said: “There seems no need for these threatening letters, it is a very heavy handed approach. Instead of taking a softly softly approach they have come at him like a bull in a china shop.”
Richard Perham, Countryside Officer for Bradford Council, said: “Over the last 16 years we have met Mr Robinson several times to try to get him to move his animal huts, shrubs and other items off our land, as he is obstructing a public right of way.
“We have written to him several times recently on this issue but he has not responded. In the letter we sent him in August we offered to help him move his items, but still got no response. We have now had to send him a final letter giving him 14 days to move things or we will need to take legal action.”