Storm over ragwort at Fishbourne

The Royal Horticultural Society says ragwort is '˜not usually a significant problem in gardens', but 71 year old part time academic Tony Attew looks set to lose his home over it.

Wednesday, 11th May 2016, 1:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2016, 2:57 pm

The poisonous yellow flowered weed which usually only causes problems for horses in fields, was already in residence, he claimed, when he moved into the semi detached house in Caspian Close, Fishbourne last June. But he said his nightmare started when he tried to renegotiate his lease which was due to end on May 16.

The landlord and estate agent came to inspect the house and said Tony told him to dig the ragwort out of the lawn.

“I am a reasonable bloke and tried to do what I could, I dug up 90 plugs and when I found chemicals were supposed to be the long term solution, I sprayed them.”

But then he received a new lease with a condition that he employ a gardener and take whatever action was advised: “Implicit in that was that I might have to lay a complete new lawn, so I rejected it,” said Tony.

Although he carried on pulling up ragwort, he said there had been no agreement with the landlord about a new lease.

“Having taken legal advice I have suggested that the landlord tenant relationship has broken down and I will leave at the end of June.”

But landlord Miss Stimpson said he had never been threatened with eviction.

“This has been very stressful. I have let for 13 years and never had a problem. I think I have been very fair and kind. The garden was well maintained when he moved in. Last November we noticed it was overgrown and advised him to tidy it up. At the next visit in March it was covered in moss and ragwort and all we did was advise him to maintain it as was when he moved in, in accordance with the tenancy agreement he signed. No way have we talked about evicting him. He is in this situation because of his reluctance to sign or even discuss the new tenancy. We could have talked about the new contract but he refused and I assumed he didn’t want to stay.”

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