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HomeUK NewsI'm being threatened with £50,000 fine from council for IMPROVING an eyesore...

I’m being threatened with £50,000 fine from council for IMPROVING an eyesore playground – it’s a disgrace

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A DAD is being threatened with a £50,000 fine after he improved eyesore playground.
Simon Martin, 43, took it upon himself to sort out a derelict site hear his home in Barry, South Wales.
Simon Martin is being threatened with a £50,000 fly-tipping fine5Simon Martin is being threatened with a £50,000 fly-tipping fineCredit: WNSThe site sits at the back of four rows of terraced houses5The site sits at the back of four rows of terraced housesCredit: WNSA variety of plants and bushes have already been planted in the space5A variety of plants and bushes have already been planted in the spaceCredit: WNSHowever the council warned him he faces a hefty fine or even jail if he doesn’t tear down the improvements he made.
The area of land in question used to be derelict play park until Mr Martin brought it back to life as a community growing space.
The council say that his creation is an act of “fly-tipping” and on January 20 this year gave him seven days to clear it.
When he refused enforcement officers returned – on Wednesday last week and warned him – “We’ll see you in court.”
Mr Martin, a craft brewer and beer reviewer on YouTube, said: “I’m fighting this with everything I’ve got.
“I built it for the good of the community to help people round here get through the cost of living crisis.

“It’s a very poor area and locals literally can’t afford to eat sometimes. Their energy bills have gone through the roof so they spent the winter choosing between heating and eating. I don’t want them to have to be making those choices next winter.”
Mr Martin started the project several months ago, after the playground was closed down by health and safety officials, reports WalesOnline.
He marked out vegetable plots and planted hedging plants and even planted lavender trees around the land to attract bees.
As the community space started to take shape other supportive locals joined in to help with the project.
Mr Martin, said: “I’d be coming home from work to discover that more earth had been added and a few more brambles and weeds had been cleared while I was gone.
“I’ve no idea who is helping but it is very welcome and it means we can get the job done quicker. There’s a lot to do.
“But at the moment these busybodies from the council are my main concern. I don’t want to go to jail and I can’t afford a £50,000 fine, but I’m not giving in to them.
“They turned up out of the blue – three of them wearing body cams and lanyards – and told me that what I’d done amounted to fly tipping and was an offence.
“When I ignored their demands to take it all up, two of them returned and I again refused so they yelled at me as they left – ‘We’ll see you in court then.’.
“As a result I feel very frightened and anxious. It’s not good for my mental health.
“But there’s no way I’m taking our allotment down.”
Locals back Mr Martin’s efforts and have encouraged him to resist the local authority’s efforts to close the allotment down.
One, an 87-year-old who can remember the original allotments in the square, said: “It is wonderful to watch it all tasking shape again. It brings back so many glorious memories.
“He has my full support.
“This is a community space and I can’t think of a better use for it than helping feed people in hard times.
“Buying fruit and veg in the supermarket costs a small fortune nowadays and this will cost nothing. It has to stay.”
Another resident said: “Simon should be applauded for what he’s achieved out here, not threatened with jail by these numpties.
“He’s a hero in my eyes.”
A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesperson said: “Our Waste Crime Unit officers attended Mr. Martin’s property after receiving a complaint from a nearby resident of a large amount of garden waste that had been deposited in the former playground to the rear of Moxon Street.
“Mr Martin was warned that his actions could be considered a very serious case of fly-tipping but no enforcement action has yet been taken.
“Our team had attended the property in response to a similar complaint in 2021. While the intention may have been to create allotments, in reality stone-borders have been placed along the rubberised surface of the playground and soil and turf deposited on top.
“There is a large pile of garden waste and the rear wall of Mr Martin’s property also appears to have been knocked down to allow access.
“Shared community spaces can enhance many areas but the site to the rear of Moxon Street is wholly inappropriate for this use and no permission or guidance was sought prior to a very significant amount of what could be considered controlled waste was deposited on the surface of the playground.
“The Council’s waste enforcement team has given Mr Martin the opportunity to remove the waste from the site and return it to its previous condition, action that would otherwise cost the Council thousands of pounds, before determining whether to consider a criminal prosecution.
“It is very much our hope that this can be resolved informally and amicably.”
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The derelict space was overgrown and attracting fly-tippers5The derelict space was overgrown and attracting fly-tippersCredit: WNSDespite being anxious about being hit with the huge fine, Mr Martin vows to stand firm5Despite being anxious about being hit with the huge fine, Mr Martin vows to stand firmCredit: WNS

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