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A SAVERNAKE Avenue resident who tried to brighten up a patch of land outside her property during lockdown, was shocked to receive a solicitor’s letter instructing her to remove it.
The 76-year old, who has asked to remain anonymous, had planted wildflowers on a small strip of land to the rear of her property, which backs on to the open fields towards Bowden Hill.
Nicknamed the ‘rainbow patch’, the resident’s wildflowers were enjoyed by neighbours and visiting walkers to the field – but this month, the owner of the land instructed their solicitor to give the resident one month to remove the ‘encroachment’ onto their land.
The resident and her family are now using the experience to stress the importance of talking to each other to resolve disputes, rather than using “authority” or “threat”.
The daughter of the Savernake Avenue resident said, “My mum’s idea was to create a bright, happy little spot – her version of the rainbow – to bring a smile to people’s faces as they walk past with their dogs. And it brought many smiles and only positive comments. Butterflies and bees, too, visited and benefitted from the pollen and nectar sources on an otherwise rather barren bit of land.
“However, this happiness came to an end when she received a solicitor’s letter, on instructions by the farmers/land owners, claiming that she “extended her garden onto our clients’ land”, allowing a month for all the flowers to be removed. Failure to do so would mean that the farmer would do this and erect “a fence with barbed wire to prevent any further unlawful entry on to it”.
“It must be stressed that at no time did my mother intend to appropriate land and extend her garden. She merely sought to brighten up, for the benefit of the community and the environment, an otherwise boring bit of land that the farmer neither uses nor maintains, especially as there is an electricity pole and ground line on the land right next to the patch in question. She understands how the farmer may have got a wrong impression of her actions, but they could have quickly clarified the matter and saved themselves solicitor’s fees simply by speaking directly to my mother.
“By now, my mum has given away most of the flowers to neighbours, friends and passers-by. Everybody she spoke to was upset to see it go. I also have noticed that my mum has been more nervous since, and somewhat depressed. The episode has clearly taken a toll on her mental health, which is really sad as her ‘rainbow patch’ and all the positive feedback she got for it had made her so happy.
“We, and everybody we spoke to, feel this is a story for the wider community as it stresses the importance of simply talking to each other, especially now, rather than instantly applying the sledgehammer of authority and threat.”