Thursday, 29 Oct 2020

Family's hell living next to mountain of rubbish that 'smells like a sewer'

A family who complained about an overgrown hedge in their neighbour’s garden were horrified to discover a huge pile of rubbish that ‘smells like a sewer’ lay behind it.

Linda Flanagan and her son James, 26, claim they repeatedly asked Birmingham City Council to take down a 30ft hedge that was blocking their light and damaging their fence.

After years of complaining their wishes were finally granted last month.

However, when the hedge came down it revealed a huge pile of rubbish including a dumped fridge-freezer, bike tyres, plastic bags and shopping baskets that gives off a ‘sewer-smell’. 

James said: ‘It’s been a huge fight for years.

‘We complained about the hedge and how it blocked light for us and was breaking our fences. We suspected some hoarded rubbish – but not this much.’


James said the smell had gotten so bad they considered moving but decided they would not be pushed out.

He added: ‘When the council came out they removed all the broken panels and started hacking at the hedge.

 ‘We couldn’t believe it, we were all outside watching.

‘As they took more of the hedge away, you could see it just looked like a skip yard.

‘It’s unbearable the smell. I can’t describe it – it smells maybe similar to what a sewer would smell like.

‘The 30ft hedge was frustrating being there, but the positive thing about the hedge was that it was blocking the smell.

‘Now it’s not there, the smell is definitely the main issue now.

‘Because of how long it’s been going on we have thought about moving away – but we’ve decided we’re not going to be pushed out so we’re staying.’

Since the hedge was removed the family have been pleading for the rubbish itself – and source of the stench – to be removed.

They said a housing manager called and told them the rubbish would be cleared by September 24 and said the council ‘have done a lot this year’.

James said: ‘I can’t say they haven’t done much but it’s just taken ages. 

‘I’ve been complaining for three years and my mum has complained for seven before I took over.

‘They asked me to be patient but I don’t have any more patience to be honest.’

Birmingham City Council said: ‘This is a complex case involving vulnerable individuals.

‘The issues with the hedge and foliage were resolved on 27 August with a new fence being erected.

‘Some furniture has also been found in the garden and has been scheduled to be removed within ten days.

‘We have since provided additional support to the tenant of the property so that their conditions of tenancy can be maintained and no further issues regarding the state of the property should arise.’

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