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Knotweed is becoming a growing concern for district's residents
West Bowling resident William Clayton is pictured with knotweed growing over 10ft in height near his home
The curse of Japanese knotweed has struck in the heart of Bradford where the rampant invader is growing 10ft tall and even sprouting in nearby gardens.
The bamboo-like menace with spade-shaped leaves is in full flower on open land beside Upper Castle Street, West Bowling and has even spread into nearby properties.
The destructive weed, real name Fallopia Japonica, has tough roots which can lengthen by one foot a week, tearing though concrete, brick and tarmac and causing serious damage to roads and buildings.
Some building societies now refuse to grant mortgages on properties already infested with the knotweed and prices of contaminated houses have tumbled.
Concerned resident William Clayton has lived in Upper Castle Street for nearly 30 years and said in the past decade the towering plants opposite his home had gone from strength to strength.
“I’d really like to get shot of it – I’m aware about how it can get under buildings and do real damage,” Mr Clayton said.
“The seeds blow everywhere and I’ve had to pull it up in my back garden.
“The knotweed has been there for about ten years, but now it’s got so bad it blocks me getting into the field behind to walk my dogs.
“It’s worrying having it so close,” said Mr Clayton, a registered carer.
A detached house adjoining the over-run wasteland is already falling victim to knotweed with small, but established plants growing beside its walls.
One elderly lady opposite the contaminated site wrote to the Telegraph & Argus to report the knotweed problem after reading how allotments at Queen’s Road, Bolton had been badly hit.
“At the moment they are 8ft high. I used to have a view across the field – now it’s weeds that are only ten yards from my home,” wrote the worried 78-year-old woman who asked not to be named.
“When the weeds start shedding leaves into my garden I spend an hour a day sweeping up in case anyone slips.
Being 78 years old and crippled with arthritis, it’s not an easy job,” she wrote.
However ownership of the wasteland is unclear, although it does not belong to Bradford Council, a spokesman said yesterday.
“About a month ago, someone came and cut them back as we were having the road tarmacked and they had grown a yard onto the road – so someone does know they are growing there,” the pensioner wrote in desperation.
Meanwhile, an outbreak of Japanese Knotweed on a grass banking in the centre of Idle is being investigated by ward councillor Jeanette Sunderland.
“The problem area is on a bank above Idlecroft Road at the top of The Green and the knotweed may have spread from there to other parts of the village,” said Coun Sunderland (Idle and Thackley, LibDem).
“Council officers have discovered that the land is owned by Punch Taverns, who also own the The Coniston pub just above it.
“However there is still a large area of knotweed which needs to be dealt with,” she said.