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Brent tenants furious over 'Nottingham Forest' overgrown garden that council have neglected for a year

PUBLISHED: 16:42 26 July 2019

James Nelson and Eric Umude in front of the overgrown site behind the Canterbury Road council flats. It was once a garden. Picture: Sam Volpe

James Nelson and Eric Umude in front of the overgrown site behind the Canterbury Road council flats. It was once a garden. Picture: Sam Volpe

Archant

"We call it our Nottingham Forest."

James Nelson and Eric Umude are among Canterbury Road residents infuriated by a lack of gardening. Picture: Sam VolpeJames Nelson and Eric Umude are among Canterbury Road residents infuriated by a lack of gardening. Picture: Sam Volpe

Although Eric Umude and his neighbours at the Caterbury Road estate in South Kilburn joke about the unkempt communal garden behind their homes, they said that Brent Council's failure to cut the grass at all this year was "hugely frustrating" and possibly a "safety risk".

The grassy area behind a number of flats used to be a great space for children to play, but it hasn't been cut and now some of the grasses, weeds, and thorns are close to five feet high.

Eric said: "It used to be so nice, but it's been a long time since then!"
Fed up of looking out of her kitchen window and seeing an overgrown plot home to rats and foxes, Syreeta Newman has repeatedly complained to both Brent Council and the Housing Ombudsman, but despite promises, the issue has yet to be solved.

In a response to her official complaint, Syreeta was told she would be contacted before June 28 to discuss fixing the neglected grassy area.

A month later, this hasn't happened.

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Syreeta told this newspaper: "They have done nothing since the end of last year and it's now really bad.

"It's not safe for kids, it's so overgrown and wild. We just can't use the space anymore."

Another resident, James Nelson, has lived in the block for the best part of a decade and said: "It's like they give you a lovely space and it's just the introductory offer, now they've just left it and look at it."
When the Times pushed the town hall on the issue, it said the gardening work would be a "high priority".

In their written response to Syreeta's complaint - seem by this paper - the council said "there had been some confusion about who owns the contract" to the work.

The tenants are doubly upset as grounds maintenance is something they pay as part of the service charge included in their rent.

The council also said they would be considering the tenants request for a refund of this element of their fees.

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Brent's housing lead, said: "I'm sorry that residents have experienced issues with the grass cutting. We are in contact with our contractor and will resolve the situation as a priority."

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