Legal action taken over Whitburn man’s garden ‘eyesore’

Malcolm Pratt  at the site near his home in May Grove, Whitburn.
Malcolm Pratt at the site near his home in May Grove, Whitburn.
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A South Tyneside man has had legal action taken against him after he created a garden “eyesore” by illegally building on communal land near his home.

A shed and greenhouse put up by Malcolm Pratt, 63, were hauled down by council workers in July following complaints from residents in May Grove, Whitburn, that they couldn’t get access to the land beside their bungalows.

Chickens were also removed during the operation.

Now South Shields County Court has issued a Postponed Possession Order against Mr Pratt, forbidding him from keeping chickens on the land and accumulating tools or belongings on the site for more than 12 hours.

He has also been warned not to let dog faeces build up and not to behave in a way likely to cause alarm, harassment or distress.

The UKIP candidate for Westoe at last May’s Local Elections has also been informed he must remove his boat from the site by September 16.

The communal area has now been cleared and the grassed area re-instated.

A council spokesperson said: “The communal garden is for the enjoyment of all tenants in the bungalows. We had received a lot of complaints from Mr Pratt’s neighbours who were unable to access the area and considered it to be an eyesore.

“This action should serve as a warning to other people who may be tempted to illegally put items on land where they have no legal right to do so.

“Local people have been delighted by the proactive approach taken by the council and South Tyneside Homes to resolve this issue which has strengthened our resolve to deal with other problem sites in the same way.”

Mr Pratt said he thought the council was “picking on me for no reason”, but that he had “no choice” but to accept the judgement.

He said: “What really gets my goat is that I live in a fishing village but I am not able to keep a boat. Other people are allowed to keep trailers and caravans, so why can’t I have my boat?

“The other issue is that the council sent out a letter to everyone in May Grove and Lily Crescent in Whitburn outlining this judgement - apart from me. I thought that was completely wrong because this was between me and the council.”