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News and Comment June 2012

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14 June - Concede a battle to win the war

Untidy garden Another untidy gardenI took the train to Sidcup yesterday to take another look at Mrs. Rita Grootendorst’s house and her latest bundle of documents. I have said it before and it needs to be said again that I think she does herself no favours by letting her front garden become untidy.

I know that she has been badly let down by a builder and he has left all sorts of clutter lying around but together with the overgrown hedge which hides an assortment of objects which don’t belong in a front garden, it makes for a distinctly grubby overall appearance.

I’ll not be popular in a certain quarter for saying that but I try to deal only in facts. Mrs. G’s secluded back garden, currently the subject of legal action by Bexley council can be quaint and unorthodox and remain acceptable but front gardens should not be used as a long term store for ‘useful’ objects more appropriate to an industrial scrap yard.

Rita will rightly point out that street facing gardens only a couple of minutes walk away are worse than hers (see pictures) but their owners do not have a long history of criticising Bexley council and so they are not on Bexley’s hit list. Digging one’s heels in against a vindictive council is always tempting but leaving mess in the front garden, whether it be the builder’s fault or not, is just playing into the council’s hands.

The builder has a lot to answer for. No one should be asked to live through the devastation he has caused. There are holes in the upstairs floor and walls through which one could all too easily fall to the ground floor. I almost did. And then there are the holes in the roof under which lie buckets and water damage.

I walked around some nearby streets and found six similar houses undergoing near identical extensions. Enquiries revealed what sort of prices were being asked for such extensions and the disparity with what Mrs. G.’s builder has already taken for doing not a lot is truly shocking. I suppose it is what one might expect of a builder of house extensions who consistently misspells the word. Ditto one who has only a mobile number on his letterhead.

I suspect it will not be long before I wander a little from my preferred subject and show you some of the photos of his handiwork as a warning to others about to embark on such a project.


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