Saturday, 2 Mar 2024

Gran with balcony like 'Chelsea Flower Show' told to remove plants by developers

A green-fingered grandma has been ordered to remove her pretty selection of plants that look like the ‘Chelsea Flower Show’.

Gill Ashton was told to clear the walkway and balcony behind her house which she has tended to for 48 years.

The 74-year-old Solihull gran received the orders from local developers who are set to bulldoze the area to make way for new homes and shops.

Other residents have also been impacted by the decision which was approved by Solihull Council in a planning committee meeting.

‘My balcony was full of flowers, they said I had to remove everything off the balcony. I’d spent a fortune on it, I’d had them there for 40 odd years,’ Gill said.

‘[It was] hundreds of plants, there were things that had been there for years. Acers, Hostas, lots of bedding plants, a lot of the pots were ceramic, it was part of my life.

‘It was like a tropical garden. They said we had no ownership of the balcony.’

A removal letter from developers Mercia Real Estate reveals residents had a ‘limited right’ to use their walkways.


Residents claim they received the letter in 2020, which they complied with but they are unsure why they were instructed to do so when they have kept items on their walkways and balconies for years.

The grandma-of-five revealed she also received a visit from a company acting on behalf of developers, telling her to clear the walkway.

Gill’s son Phil Collins said: ‘She doesn’t drive, she has COPD, they said she had to shift them. People used to compliment her on her pots and hanging baskets, it was like Chelsea Flower show.’

A Mercia Real Estate spokesperson said they have provided ‘direct lines of communication’ and residents are welcome to discuss their concerns.

A spokesperson for Solihull Council said: ‘Any planning authority is required to notify residents or tenants of any applications affecting their properties. With regards to this application, the council has also kept residents and tenants informed of all amendments to the application, and considered the objections raised to the scheme.

‘The council advised in the committee report and at the planning committee meeting that anything relating to ownership is a private matter between the developer, tenants and homeowners. The council and the planning system cannot and does not get involved in ownership issues.’

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