Keep off our grass: Council warns pensioner who tends verge outside his home to stop because it's too TIDY
Brian Hubbard has been banned from gardening a council-owned verge outside his home because it's too tidy
It might be public land, but Brian Hubbard treats the grass verge outside his home as proudly as his own garden.
The retired civil servant regularly mows, weeds and rakes the small patch, and selflessly clears up other people's litter.
His reward? A warning from the council accusing him of 'encroaching' on its property.
The letter from Herefordshire's parks, countryside and leisure development service ordered the grandfather to put down his shears and return the land 'to its original state within 28 days' - or the work will be carried out by contractors and charged to him.
On Thursday, Mr Hubbard, 72, of Belmont, Hereford, accused the council of 'heavy-handedness' and vowed to ignore the order.
He said that when he queried the letter, a council official told him that if the grass was too tidy 'people might not feel they could walk over it'.
'It is absolutely ridiculous,' he added. 'I am just trying to help the council workers with their job.
'The argument was that maybe I could claim ownership of the grass verge but I've just been tending to it - it's not like I've put a fence there.
'The contractors that cut the grass verges use heavy-duty sit-on lawn mowers. You don't expect them to do a fine job so I am just trying to help them.'
The verge outside Mr Hubbard's home... and how it used to look
Mr Hubbard is a former parish councillor in Belmont, and had special responsibility for green surroundings. He added: 'I'm going to ignore the letter - they won't stop me.
'The other day there were people smashing glass over the road. I got a broom, went over and swept it up. Is that encroachment too?'
The grass verge measures around 20 square yards and is in front of the detached four-bedroomed home Mr Hubbard and his wife Mary bought 11 years ago.
Mr Hubbard, whose local council has banned him from gardening, says he will ignore the warning
A public footpath lies between the grass and their property.
Councillors in the Belmont ward reacted with disbelief to the council's actions.
Glenda Powell said: 'I think it's absolutely ridiculous. Whether it's a piece of council ground or not if it's a bit untidy we should be commending people who help clear it up.
'It is barmy, I think it's absurd and I don't understand the logic in this at all. Brian's old role on the parish council was actually to look after all the trees and bushes in the community.'
Defiant: The council have said they will 'review' their approach to Mr Hubbard and the verge
A spokesman for the Tory-controlled authority apologised for the contents of the letter and said it had now been retracted.
' We are aware of Mr Hubbard's endeavours to tend the land next to his home and commend him for his public-spiritedness.'
He said the council would review its 'approach' over this matter but it had not yet been decided if Mr Hubbard could continue maintaining the verge.
Login to add comments on this post.