Weaverham couple's criminal garden goes viral

Northwich Guardian: Colin and Kath Halsey with the disputed verge Colin and Kath Halsey with the disputed verge

A COUPLE from Weaverham have found themselves in the media spotlight after the council told them their gardening was a criminal offence.

Colin and Kath Halsey's story has been in national newspapers and been the subject of chat shows on TV and radio since it was published in the Guardian.

"It's gone viral on the internet, people in Australia and all over the world are talking about it," Colin said.

"It was discussed on TV on The Wright Stuff, they had quite a big chat about it, and Mark Little really went to town on it – in our favour."

The pensioners, who live in Walnut Avenue, are currently fighting a battle with Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) about the future of the wide grass verge in front of their home.

They argue that they won permission 14 years ago from the former Cheshire County Council to add flower beds to the verge to stop people parking on it and turning it into a muddy mess.

But now CWAC claims they did not have permission for the beautifully tended borders and has written to the Halseys to say they must reinstate the grass or be prosecuted.

Colin said: "If I had just done it say 12 to 18 months ago without permission I would have held my hands up and said 'fair enough' but it's been that long.

"I'm pleased it's gone national and on the internet."

The couple's work also includes a path so that Kath, who suffers with arthritis, can easily travel between the car and house.

Their son Robert said: "We didn't think it would create that much interest.

"All we really wanted was for the council to say 'it looks nice, everyone agrees, leave it be'."

A CWAC spokesman said the verges were the responsibility of the council but that it was willing to meet with the Halseys and with Weaverham Parish Council to see if a formal agreement could be put in place.

Comments (4)

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4:24pm Tue 13 May 14

j@northwich says...

The Council jump on someone for trying to improve the environment, but litterbugs and people who allow their dogs to foul footpaths, grassed area etc get away scot free. CWAC at its very best.
The Council jump on someone for trying to improve the environment, but litterbugs and people who allow their dogs to foul footpaths, grassed area etc get away scot free. CWAC at its very best. j@northwich
  • Score: -2

6:30pm Tue 13 May 14

practisewhatyoupreach says...

why pick on the innocent? People down walnut avenue have taken it upon themselves to extend driveways using tarmac. without consent from Cheshire west and chester. surely this should be targeted by the council, going against all their policies (insurance/liability cover). So Cheshire West and Chester....if some happens to have an accident on this patch of public land......who's liable? Leave the innocent alone and admire them for trying to make Weaverham a more eye catching place.
why pick on the innocent? People down walnut avenue have taken it upon themselves to extend driveways using tarmac. without consent from Cheshire west and chester. surely this should be targeted by the council, going against all their policies (insurance/liability cover). So Cheshire West and Chester....if some happens to have an accident on this patch of public land......who's liable? Leave the innocent alone and admire them for trying to make Weaverham a more eye catching place. practisewhatyoupreach
  • Score: -5

6:33pm Tue 13 May 14

practisewhatyoupreach says...

in addition to the above comment....the extension involved the widening/removal of kerb stone on public land and replacing with tarmac.
in addition to the above comment....the extension involved the widening/removal of kerb stone on public land and replacing with tarmac. practisewhatyoupreach
  • Score: -4

11:53pm Tue 13 May 14

chrisfen67 says...

The flowers do look better than a patch of mud so well done to them for tidying the verge up - not sure the council would ever do it. I've got a similar issue with people messing up the verge outside my bungalow so I am keeping a close eye on this story.

Not sure I would want a formal agrement as is mentioned - sounds like a liability when you come to selling your house.

To be fair to the council, it certainly has not looked like this for 15 years as stated previously. If you look at google streetview, you can see the verge as it was in March '09 - nothing like it is now.

According to various council websites from around the country, there has to be control to protect people from putting a spade through underground cables. I also don't suppose this couple are aware that they are liable if someone trips up on the flowerbed and injures themselves. It's funny how people assume they can do these things on land that does not belong to them!

Has anyone else noticed that they have covered over the fire hydrant sign? I wouldn't be pleased if I was their neighbour and my house was burning down. A few seconds added to the fire brigade trying to find the hydrant could be a matter of life or death.

I wonder what this couple's neighbors think of it? Does anybody know them?

Nice shrubs though.
The flowers do look better than a patch of mud so well done to them for tidying the verge up - not sure the council would ever do it. I've got a similar issue with people messing up the verge outside my bungalow so I am keeping a close eye on this story. Not sure I would want a formal agrement as is mentioned - sounds like a liability when you come to selling your house. To be fair to the council, it certainly has not looked like this for 15 years as stated previously. If you look at google streetview, you can see the verge as it was in March '09 - nothing like it is now. According to various council websites from around the country, there has to be control to protect people from putting a spade through underground cables. I also don't suppose this couple are aware that they are liable if someone trips up on the flowerbed and injures themselves. It's funny how people assume they can do these things on land that does not belong to them! Has anyone else noticed that they have covered over the fire hydrant sign? I wouldn't be pleased if I was their neighbour and my house was burning down. A few seconds added to the fire brigade trying to find the hydrant could be a matter of life or death. I wonder what this couple's neighbors think of it? Does anybody know them? Nice shrubs though. chrisfen67
  • Score: 11

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