Council pay out after destroying flowerbed

A PENSIONER whose lovingly cultivated flowerbed was destroyed after Great Yarmouth Borough Council wrongly moved a fence has won more than �1,000 in compensation.

Norman Payne, 92, was awarded the money by a small claims court after his fence was removed, a new one erected intruding into his garden on Shakespeare Road and two large concrete posts dug into his flowerbed.

Representing his father-in-law, builder Peter Wilkinson explained that the situation arose after a neighbours’ complaint that washing hanging from their line was brushing against the top of the old fence and getting dirty. Mr Wilkinson was keen to stress that relations with the neighbour, who lives in a council house, were good.

He said: “I said I could fix it by putting a piece of wood along the top, but our neighbour said they would get the council to help.

“We left it at that point, but they then came along, took the fence down and put it in the wrong position.”

It was in June last year that Mr Payne’s prized gardening spot, which he had sown with beans and various flowers for years, was destroyed, with rubble and muck left from the job in his garden.

An acknowledgement from the housing department that things had indeed gone wrong soon followed.

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However, after attempts to find out when the problem would be amended were met with no response it was decided by mid-July that things had to go further.

“He was crushed when he found out, as the old boy couldn’t have his flowers or beans and that meant a lot to him – he’s had them for years since his wife died” said Mr Wilkinson.

“They wouldn’t talk to us and put things right and it was like hitting against a brick wall so I wrote the council a letter saying I would take them to court if they did not respond within seven days.”

It was after sending a further letter giving the borough council another week that a claim of �850 for damages to Mr Payne’s garden was made.

And after being passed back and forth between Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court and Norwich Crown Court the claim – including additional expenses – of �1,015 was awarded late last year.

Mr Wilkinson is now waiting for the bailiffs to chase up the money from the council. He added: “It wasn’t about the money; it was the principle of the thing. All we wanted was the fence put back where it should be.”

A spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “We’re looking into the matter fully and will ensure any payments due will be actioned as a matter of urgency.”