I’ve been ordered to cut down my plants after my nosey neighbours complained… I’m heartbroken | The Sun06/23/2022
A GARDENER has been left "heartbroken" after being told to cut back her beloved plants after nosey neighbours complained.
Alexandra Wilson-Jones, 49, was ordered to scale down her flowery courtyard in Prince Charles' model village of Poundbury near Dorchester.
Alexandra was devastated when the Duchy of Cornwall, which runs the estate, said her beloved shrubbery looked "out of place".
The royal passion project is supposed to "break the mould of convention" and "create an attractive place for people to live, work and play" – but Alexandra argues the Duchy's order goes against this vision.
She said: "If you start reducing down gardens that are enhancing any community thinking, it's backward thinking.
"More so than anything else, it is in complete contrast to what His Royal Highness would encourage. If he knew about this, he would intervene.
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The Duchy of Cornwall says that while it welcomes moves to brighten the area, the plants are being stored in a communal courtyard "without approval."
The Duchy also claims to have received "a large collection" of complaints from locals.
Alexandra said: "The Duchy have told me to significantly modify and reduce my planting down, and if I haven't done it by the end of January, it will need to be removed entirely.
"So that puts me in a very difficult position, and it's my responsibility.
If you start reducing down gardens that are enhancing any community thinking, it's backward thinking.
"They're not prepared to help me at all. They're not offering an opportunity to provide anywhere to relocate to. They're just simply saying that will be something that I would have to do myself."
Alongside her belief that she is not receiving enough help from the Duchy to remove the plants, she also claims the rules around owning plants were not made clear to residents.
She said: "It's heartbreaking. For a start, it would be extremely expensive because it was expensive anyway to bring the collection here.
"No provisions have been made in the layout of these properties to have a garden. The majority of the plants will have to go.
"So they want to look at significantly reducing but they're not prepared to do anything at all to help me, it's all my responsibility. They're not offering any alternatives that I've suggested."
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Ms Wilson-Jones, who is retired, said she feels targeted.
She claims the plants do not go against the rules on blocking homes, driveways or parking spaces, and says all her neighbour's plants are allowed to stay.
"I think it's terribly unfair what they're doing. I think it's backward thinking.
"The garden is not causing any obstruction. It just simply blocks my garage, and I don't have a car."
LEAF IT OUT
The gardener argued that the courtyard outside of her home is large enough to fit a jumbo aircraft – emphasising that her plants do not take up the space.
"You can park a Boeing 747 in this courtyard – it's huge."
She added: "I think it goes against the whole vision and everything that His Royal Highness stands for – he's the patron of quite a number of horticultural societies."
Although neighbours have complained, Alexandra said there haven't been any concerns from emergency services or delivery companies regarding obstruction to the road.
Alexandra has been living in Poundbury since February last year. The decision to move to the area came after her mother sadly died, and she took to gardening as a way to cope with her grief.
"When I lost my mum, gardening very much kept me alive," she explained.
When I lost my mum, gardening very much kept me alive.
"It stopped be from going through a depression during bereavement and it really helped me so much for my general health and my mental health."
She said that people can "embrace gardening in a way that actually helps people, so there's nothing negative about anything like this."
A spokesman for the Duchy of Cornwall said: "We are aware of an issue where a large collection of privately owned plants are being stored in a communal courtyard without approval.
"We welcome moves to enhance the appearance and environmental diversity of courtyards, however these need to be of an appropriate scale and nature, recognising that the courtyards are designed mainly to provide pedestrian and vehicular access to homes, garages and parking bays.
"We are aware that complaints about the large collection have been raised by local residents and we will continue to work with the owner of the plants and the relevant developer to achieve a suitable outcome."
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