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Residents offer to take on overgrown alleyway near Victoria Road in Luton, Chatham

A woman has been fighting for 14 years to get an alleyway overgrown by bramble bushes and used as a dumping ground properly maintained.

Now, Sue Abnett is calling on her neighbours in Victoria Road and Oliver Close in Luton, Chatham, to take on the alleyway and look after it themselves.

Sue Abnett says she is "incensed" that the alleyway is not maintained
Sue Abnett says she is "incensed" that the alleyway is not maintained

The 62-year-old, whose house backs onto the alley, describes it as a “dumping ground” and even paid £600 for it to be cleared two years ago. But the brambles soon grew back and it once again became an “eyesore”.

She wants to see the land properly maintained by her landlord, mhs homes, and says it has promised her the bushes will be cut back in November this year.

The housing association says it is trying to seek clarity on who owns the land and who should take responsibility for it.

The alley is overgrown with bramble bushes which makes it difficult for any rubbish dumped in it to be cleared away. This litter also attracts vermin.

Since 2009, Ms Abnett said she has had meetings with former Chatham and Aylesford MP Jonathan Shaw and more recently with Luton Road ward councillor Simon Curry.

The view of the alley from the bottom of the accessible part
The view of the alley from the bottom of the accessible part

She said: “I don’t trust that they will clear the alleyway as I have been in correspondence since 2009 over this issue and it's still a dumping ground.

“I’m incensed that the landowners will not take responsibility.

“It's really upsetting and so frustrating as we are trying to keep our properties in good order.

“My fencing had to be replaced because the foliage was growing through it.

“When the alley was cleared two years ago, 12 sacks of rubbish full of bottle cans, old furniture waste, toys and electrical equipment were collected.

The view down to the bottom of the alleyway.
The view down to the bottom of the alleyway.

“I tried to convince mhs homes to hand the alley over to the residents as they do not have the resources to maintain it but it will only be handed over to us if all the neighbours agree to take on the land.

“It's just become an eyesore which we want to be maintained.”

A resident of Victoria Road said she would clean it up herself but “can’t get at the rubbish” due to the brambles.

She said: “I am fed up with litter being everywhere on the street as well as in the alleyway which I have to look at every day.”

Executive director assets and development at mhs homes, Gemma Hancock, says the company is still looking for clarity on the matter.

She said: “We want to make sure we’re looking after all the outside spaces we’re responsible for.

“We’re currently seeking clarity on the area in question to establish whether it is land owned by mhs homes.

“Our estates team will also be carrying out an inspection of the area.

“We understand how frustrating this is for residents and we’re seeking to get the matter resolved as soon as possible so we can take the appropriate action.”

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