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Neighbours' nightmare as garden in Highland Road, Chartham grows wilder

By Alex Claridge

When an elderly couple departed their modest Chartham home, their neighbours believed it might not be all that long until new occupants arrived in their stead.

Alas, it was not to be and for eight years now they have watched the garden of 74 Highland Road turn into a jungle of overgrown plants.

The foliage has become so thick that it almost completely obscures the door at the front. At the back it has grown around three sheds the couple had in their garden and a Mercedes they parked on a driveway.

The plants reach almost the height of the house

But the plants are also causing a headache for immediate neighbour Maureen Dodd, who finds them creeping into her garden.

The 80-year-old said: “It’s about eight years that the couple stopped living there and ever since then the undergrowth has just been growing and growing.

“It’s not very nice and I have to get my sons to help cut it away. The couple who lived here were ever so nice, but it’s been empty since they left.”

Maureen and Darren Dodd by the overgrown property next to their house in Highland Road

Mrs Dodd says the couple left the house after the man died and the woman moved into a nursing home. It is thought that she is no longer alive.

Mrs Dodd’s son, Darren, 50, helps his mother out at her house. It’s a nightmare and we’ve been on to the council about it,” he said.

“The plants grow to more than 7ft high and we’ve even seen rats in there. We’re trying to get something done about it.

The overgrown property in Highland Road, Chartham

“We’ve got a housing shortage and this place is just doing nothing when someone could be living in it.”

Canterbury City Council says it is aware of the issues at the house in Highland Court and is preparing to take enforcement action.

Spokesman Leo Whitlock said: “This case is being examined by both our planning enforcement team and our empty homes officer to see what action we can take and what powers are available to us to help remedy this situation.”

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