I’m being fined £50,000 by Council for IMPROVING an Eyesore playground – it’s a disgrace
A DAD faces a £50,000 fine after improving Eyesore playground
Simon Martin, 43, has taken on the task of cleaning up a derelict construction site at his home in Barry, South Wales.
However, the council warned him that he faces a hefty fine or even jail time if he doesn’t pull off the improvements he’s made.
The lot in question used to be a derelict playground until Mr. Martin brought it back to life as a community growing area.
The council says its creation is an act of “fly-tipping” and on January 20 this year gave it seven days to vacate it.
When he refused, law enforcement officials returned last Wednesday and warned him, “See you in court.”
Mr Martin, a craft brewer and beer critic on YouTube, said: “I fight with everything I have.
“I built it for the benefit of the community, to help people here weather the cost of living crisis.
“It’s a very poor area and sometimes the locals literally can’t afford to eat. Their energy bills have gone through the roof, so they’ve spent the winter deciding between heating and eating out. I don’t want them to have to make those decisions next winter.”
Mr Martin started the project a few months ago after the playground was closed by health and safety officials, WalesOnline reports.
He marked vegetable patches and planted hedge plants and even planted lavender trees around the land to attract bees.
As the community space took shape, other supportive locals joined to help with the project.
Mr Martin said: “I would come home from work to find that more soil had been added and a few more thorns and weeds cleared while I was away.
“I have no idea who is helping, but it’s very welcome and means we can get the job done faster. It’s a lot to do.
“But right now, 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 showed up out of the blue – three of them had body cameras and lanyards – and told me that what I had done was tantamount to tipping flies and was a criminal offence.
“When I ignored their request to tape everything, two of them returned and I refused again, so they yelled at me as they left, ‘See you in court then.’
“As a result, I feel very scared and anxious. It’s not good for my mental health.
“But there’s no way I’m going to cut our allocation.”
Locals support Mr Martin’s efforts and have encouraged him to resist efforts by local authorities to close the allotment site.
One, an 87-year-old who can remember the original allotments in the square, said: “It’s wonderful to see everything forming again. It brings back so many beautiful memories.
“He has my full support.
“This is a community space and I can’t think of a better use for it than to help feed people in difficult times.
“Buying fruit and veg from the supermarket these days costs a small fortune and it won’t cost anything. That has to stay.”
Another resident said: “Simon should be applauded for what he’s accomplished out here and not threatened with jail by these jerks.
“He’s a hero in my eyes.”
A spokesman for the Vale of Glamorgan Council said: “Our Waste Crime Unit officers visited Mr Martin’s property after receiving a complaint from a nearby resident about a large quantity of garden waste found on the former playground behind Moxon Street had been deposited.
“Mr Martin has been warned that his actions could be seen as a very serious case of fly-tipping, but no enforcement action has yet been taken.
“Our team had visited the property in response to a similar complaint in 2021. While the intention may have been to create allotments, in reality stone borders were placed along the rubberized surface of the playground and earth and turf were laid on top.
“There is a large pile of garden waste and the back wall of Mr Martin’s property also appears to have been torn down to allow access.
“Shared spaces can add value to many areas but the site behind Moxon Street is totally unsuitable for this use and no permit or guidance was obtained before a very significant amount of what could be considered controlled waste was found on the Surface was deposited playground.
“The council’s waste enforcement team have given Mr Martin the opportunity to remove the waste from the site and restore it to its previous condition, a measure that would otherwise cost the council thousands of pounds before deciding whether to prosecute should be drawn.
“We very much hope that this can be resolved informally and amicably.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7339289/man-50000-fine-council-improving-playground/ I’m being fined £50,000 by Council for IMPROVING an Eyesore playground – it’s a disgrace