Hartlepool homeowner threatened with court for paving over his front garden

John Twidale outside of his Whistlewood Close home. Picture by FRANK REID

John Twidale outside of his Whistlewood Close home. Picture by FRANK REID

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A homeowner has been threatened with court action after he paved over his front garden.

John Twidale, 60, replaced the turf outside the front of his home in Whistlewood Close, Hartlepool.

John Twidale with letters from the developer and their solicitors. Picture by FRANK REID

John Twidale with letters from the developer and their solicitors. Picture by FRANK REID

Mr Twidale bought the home on a new development off Tanfield Road from Gleeson Developments about two and a half years ago.

Around a year ago he decided to replace the grass at the front of his home with block paving at a cost of about £2,000 because other residents had done the same.

He also thought it looked tidier and would be easier to maintain as he has problems with his legs.

But now Mr Twidale has been told by the developer the work is not allowed and warned he will be taken to court if he does not reinstate the lawn by February 28.

They never told me anything about this when I moved in, its all in the small print

John Twidale

He said: “It has been down nearly a year. Other people on the estate have had theirs done and I just followed suit.

“The grass was against wall. You couldn’t get a lawn mower up against it. It just looked like a mess.

“It is my house, I paid for it. Nobody has complained. All the neighbours said what a lovely job it was.

“I just can’t understand it. They never told me anything about this when I moved in, it’s all in the small print.”
Mr Twidale has also replaced a patch of grass in his back garden with artificial turf due to his problems with his legs.

And the developer has allowed him to put down paving around his garage.

A letter he received from Gleeson Homes’ solicitors states: “You are aware that the grass at the front of the property has been replaced with block paving and it has been requested that this be removed as it is in breach of the terms of your Transfer.

“We are instructed to ask you to dismantle and remove the block paving and reinstate the grass at the front of the property by no later than the 28th February 2017.

“If you fail to deal with this our client will have no other option but to take court proceedings against you and seek an injunction ordering the work to be done and also damages and costs.”

A spokesperson for Gleeson Homes said: “It is important that we have restrictions on what residents can do to their properties in order to maintain the attractive appearance of the development and property values.

“When an individual carries out unauthorised works we have an obligation to other residents to require the works to be reversed.

“Other residents who have removed their front lawns are also subject to attention from us.”