What a load of rubbish – but council had no choice
WITH all the demands on the dwindling manpower of Derby City Council, they could have well done without having to play out the latest act in the long-running Graham Ellison rubbish drama.
Yet what choice does the local authority have other than to take action to clear the garden of this long-term nuisance?
For nuisance he certainly is. A misguided one, maybe, labouring under the misapprehension that he can keep what he wants on his property and it is nobody else's business.
But he cannot cling to the argument that an Englishman's home is his castle – not when it becomes such an unsightly monstrosity that the whole street scene is devalued.
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Mr Ellison was telling police officers at his home in Fife Street, Alvaston, yesterday that the council workers who were carting stuff out of his garden were guilty of "theft from private property".
He might be due a smidgeon more sympathy were it not for the fact that this is a pantomime that has all been enacted previously – 10 years ago, in fact.
That ended badly for him – with the imposition of a three-year prison sentence – and you might think that the message would have sunk in.
Back in 2003, the council eventually removed 15 skip-loads of garbage from the front and back gardens of Mr Ellison's same house.
It took them a week and he was landed with a £2,800 bill – not to mention the jail term for ignoring not only the council but a court order to do a tidy-up.
Now here we go again.
The council says he was served with a enforcement notice that gave him 28 days to respond and then 21 days to clean up his front garden.
Having failed to do so, he will now have another £500 bill coming his way.
Mr Ellison, however, claims to have received no warning that yesterday's work would be carried out, which is a curious state of affairs.
Some may take his side and argue that the authority's officers and workers currently have much more important matters with which they ought to be concerning themselves.
And local councillor Linda Winter says she finds it "very sad" and Mr Ellison should be "pitied, not blamed" as it seems he cannot cope without council "help".
Well, he is getting the council's help now, whether he wants it or not.
And as things have got to this state, it is only right that he should meet the cost.
The alternative is that the rest of the council taxpayers – the vast majority of whom do keep their homes and gardens in a respectable state – would have to do so.
That would not be acceptable – either now or in any financial climate.