A planning enforcement notice has been upheld by an Inspector against a ‘very overgrown’ house in south Wales, ruling that its ‘unkempt and abandoned appearance’ was detrimental to the character of the area.

The appeal concerned a house at the end of a cul-de-sac in a residential area of Porthcawl, a town on the south coast of Wales. The council, Bridgend County Borough Council, issued enforcement action in March 2019, alleging that overgrown ivy and vegetation on the house was adversely affecting the amenity of the area. It had previously written to the appellant outlining its concerns after receiving complaints from members of the public, but no action was taken.

On his visit to the site, Inspector AL McCooey noted that the house appeared “very overgrown”, with thick ivy obscuring much of the building and extending into a lane that runs along the western boundary of the house.

The appellant argued that the vegetation along the lane was acting as a barrier “to prevent further burglaries”. However, McCooey noted, the vegetation blocking the lane was the responsibility of the council, and its enforcement notice was intended to attack only the vegetation on and next to the house itself, so the appellant’s argument was not relevant.

The appellant also argued that ivy is “a common feature on many dwellings”. McCooey was not convinced, commenting that the vegetation here “had been allowed to grow to such an extent that the dwelling is virtually hidden behind thick ivy that extends out some distance from the walls”, in contrast with the “neat well-kept ivy that is a pleasant feature of many dwellings”.

The ivy gave the house an “unkempt and abandoned appearance”, he noted, and the areas that the notice was directed at (the front and side of the property) were both “plainly visible” from public areas.

McCooey concluded that the case was “an extreme example of very overgrown vegetation on and around a property, which has been neglected for a considerable period of time to the detriment of the character of the area”. On this basis he dismissed the appeal and upheld the enforcement notice.

28 August 2019