£20,000 bill to tidy up filthy gardens across Sheffield

A mountain of bin bags in a Sheffield garden
A mountain of bin bags in a Sheffield garden
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Filthy gardens across Sheffield have landed those responsible with a bill for around £20,000.

Sheffield Council stepped in to clear waste piling up in more than 270 front and back yards, and sent more than 100 legal notices to the occupiers over the last year.

The figures emerged after business leaders in the city issued a call to arms to end the 'plague' of litter and graffiti it claimed was costing millions in lost investment.

The Federation of Small Businesses' campaign to tidy up Sheffield prompted a flurry of supportive letters and emails after being highlighted in The Star.

Among those compelled to write in was Roger Harben, who said one of his biggest bugbears was the state of people's front gardens - especially on council estates.

The Star took up the issue with the council, which revealed it investigated 1,337 complaints about waste piling up in people's front and back yards last year.

Nearly 650 letters were sent to the owners ordering them to clear up, and 109 legal notices were served on those who failed to do so.

The council carried out 271 clearances at a cost of £20,000 - all of which it said was passed on to the householders.

Mr Harden said: "Council housing gardens some are causing misery for many residents.

"You know what they say, 'cleanliness starts at home', well it does for some! If people respected their council property much more than some do, maybe Sheffield would be cleaner."

He called for council tenants to be hit with rent rises if they fail to take care of their gardens, as he said neighbours should not be made to suffer for their slovenliness.

Sheffield Council said it always strove to support householders in the first instance but was not afraid to take a hard line approach when necessary.

Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for the environment, said: "When it comes to private gardens – and indeed all private property - we can and do take action where the levels of rubbish are likely to give rise to a public health issue, such as vermin or bad smells.

"In these cases we contact the householders and help them to sort out the problem quickly, giving appropriate support where necessary.

"If the problem still isn't cleared up, we'll issue a notice giving them a timescale for the clean-up.

"If they then fail to comply, we send in a clearance team and the householder would have to pay them, plus our costs – which can be substantial."

Coun Lodge added that in extreme cases the council would serve a written warning and then a notice, with those failing to complying facing prosecution and a court fine.

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