Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 10°C

Search

No regrets by land-loss woman

PUBLISHED: 20:10 14 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 March 2010

DEFIANT Suffolk pensioner Thelma Hannah, who wasted thousands of pounds cultivating a private garden on public land next to her home, said today she had no regrets … despite losing a lengthy battle to keep the plot.

DEFIANT Suffolk pensioner Thelma Hannah, who wasted thousands of pounds cultivating a private garden on public land next to her home, said today she had no regrets … despite losing a lengthy battle to keep the plot.

The 68-year-old retired landlady was branded selfish and called a thief after she erected a 6ft high wooden fence on amenity land near Garrods, in Capel St Mary.

Babergh District Council served an enforcement notice demanding the removal of the fence, which enclosed nearly a fifth of an acre of public grassland, and when she appealed a public inquiry was called.

The inquiry ruled that Mrs Hannah must take down the fence, which she claims cost £1,500, and she is currently clearing out a collection of gnomes, fruit trees and flowers which she had cultivated in the plot over nearly four years.

"I think all the way along I knew it would come down so when it eventually happened I wasn't that bothered," she said.

"Hopefully this will be an end to it. You can be surprised how vicious people can be. I was called a thief and all sorts. You don't realise how spiteful people can be."

Mrs Hannah, who claims she never applied for planning permission for the fence because she didn't think she needed it, told how she began cultivating the land in 1998, gradually planting "a little bit at a time" because she was ashamed at the mess it was in. The fence went up in July 2000.

As well as the cost of the fence and plants, she admits she is facing a "sizeable" legal bill and is waiting to hear if the cost of holding a public inquiry will be awarded against her.

She has been ordered to turf over borders and flower beds and remove garden ornaments before returning the land to public use,

"It's sad really, a lot of work has gone into it. When I first moved here it was a mess. You had up to 20 kids playing football on it day and night. It was littered with papers and bottles. I was ashamed to tell people where I lived."

Parish council chair Gerald White denied the land was every in a poor state and told how the victory was an important ruling for the future of the village.

"There is a lot of open space in the village and we have been fighting to retain these for the last 30 years because we are an open plan village.

"If it had gone the other way it would have left the door wide open for other people to do the same."

Sue Thomas, of Capel parish council, said: "The fence is unsightly and should never have been erected in the first place. It is huge, covering more than just an extension of Mrs Hannah's garden.

"Many of us felt it was a very selfish act and we are very pleased that the inspector came down in favour of Babergh District Council."

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists