An elderly couple have been warned they face a court charged with ‘criminally damaging the highway’ – after they planted a flower bed outside their home.
Colin Halsey, 77, and his wife Kath, 76, had decided to grow daffodils, pansies and other bushes and plants as long ago as 1999 to stop motorists churning up the grass verge whenever they parked their cars.
But almost 15 years on, a council official carrying out an inspection of the village where they couple live, spotted the illicit flower bed growing at the front of their former council house.
He spoke to Mr Halsey claiming his ”planting activity” was a ”criminal offence” under Section 131 of The Highways Act 1980 and then warned the retired salesman, the plants and bushes had been ”planted without permission.”
Afterwards he fired off a legal letter when the pensioner failed to remove them warning he had even added extra plants.
In his letter John Barnes a network steward for Cheshire West and Chester Council warned: ”I observed that the highway verge outside your property had been planted up with bushes and bedding plants.
”I now write to require the following works to remove all the planting that you have inserted and to restore the verge to its original state prior to you undertaking planting activity.”
Mr Barnes demanded Mr Halsey level the ground within three weeks and re-lay it with the ”removed turf” and the area be ”reseeded” at his own expense.
His letter concluded: ”If you do not carry out the works, the council will consider all options available including prosecution and/or making a complaint to the Magistrates Court for an order to remove and dispose of the planting and thereafter to recover expenses incurred by the Council.”
Planting activity indeed. Hang people who use language like that. And anyone who hires a “network steward”.
If there’s enough cash around to hire someone to hassle pensioners for planting flowers by the roadside then I’d say that there’s still quite a lot of government we can cut.