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What would you do?

I have a small area of 'garden' at the front of our house which is actually owned by the council but over the years the previous owner of the property 'claimed' it and started planting it up. It has a silver birch growing in the middle of it and there is a grassy bank along the side. The previous owner planted a beautiful array of tulips and it looks very beautiful in the spring when they are out but during the summer it just looks a mess with the grass overgrown and copious colonies of dandelions and willow herb. I would like to maintain it but am conscious that at any point the council could just claim it back and I'd lose all my hard work not to mention the money put into it.

The area is shaded during the summer, not only by the silver birch but also by a neighboring large, mature horse chestnut tree and it is also very dry (unsurprisingly). 

What suggestions do people have?   


  • madpenguinmadpenguin Posts: 2,527

    I think if you just keep it tidy and don't spend money on it I would think the council would not mind.Of course they can claim it back at any time.

    Maybe you could contact the council and see what they say?

    Think of any work you do as a contribution to the local community!

    Last edited: 19 May 2016 13:27:27

    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,015

    I would hoe or weed it and Chuck a packet of mixed seeds on it. Although you will have spent a bit of effort, the plant s wouldn't have cost much 

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 3,277
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  • Simon69Simon69 Posts: 68

    I think there is something called Adverse Possession and you can claim the land for yourself if you can prove that you have used it for ten years. Cutting the grass or keeping the weeds down is a “use”.

    You can check the land registry to see who actually owns it and I think this service is free but I wouldn’t call the council in case you remind them it may be theirs and come back and use it as a storage area of some description.

    Good luck.

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,749

    I would also be cautious about informing the council.  You see all sorts of reports about the daft things councils do in the name of Elf n Safety.  I read not long back about a village where the locals had been banned from planting up verges because it might distract drivers!

  • Flowerlover3Flowerlover3 Posts: 219

    I was given a Geranium which grows anywhere, full sun or full shade, damp or dry. From two tiny bits planted mid summer last year I now have two huge and spreading clumps. Chris on Beechgrove garden helpfully identified it for me on the last programme as Geranium nodosum. It flowered on and off all summer and is enough of a thug to hold it's own against the weeds, message me if you'd like some.


  • NanniemoNanniemo Posts: 226

    Simon69 is right about the adverse possession although I'm not sure about how many years it is before you can claim it. A neighbour of ours did this & claimed it. They've since sold up a couple of years ago, but it is now part of the new owner's front drive. They've had no comeback from the council.     

    We have an identical plot in front of our house but when I enquired about planting it up & maintaining it, they wanted to charge me to do so & said that if they weren't happy with how I was maintaining it, they would do so themselves and bill me for it! we're lucky if they cut it every couple of months, so my OH does it sometimes and we include it in our treatments from Greenthumb. So definitely do not enquired at the Council!

  • cornellycornelly Posts: 970

    Twenty years now to claim Prescriptive rights, as long as you have someone in authority to admit to knowing it has been in your use for that time, I have done this with land behind our house.

  • Mother Hen2Mother Hen2 Posts: 41

    I'm not bothered about trying to claim it as it is a very small area but I wanted to make it look better than it does. Thanks for the offer of the geranium Flowerlover, I already have a couple of nodosum in the garden so may look t putting some out there. 

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