SHOULD a council be allowed to take drastic action against a disabled owner of a home, just because they do not like the way the house looks?
On the face of it, that is the predicament Stroud District Council finds itself in at the Chipping in Wotton-under-Edge, where a dilapidated semi-detached home has almost been taken over by vegetation.
It is supposed to be a conservation area, where the character of the buildings are meant to be kept as they are by law but home owner Derrick Pegler ha not played ball as a lack of money and ill health has seen the home fall apart.
The only options apparently open to SDC is to prosecute the man or do the work themselves and send him the bill. Neither are likely to have the desired effect.
They can also apparently force the man out of his own home, where he has lived his whole life but they all are drastic and unsympathetic reactions to what essentially is a purely aesthetic issue for people walking by.
The house is in a state and cannot be fun for people living nearby but why should they change another person’s life because they don’t like the way something looks?
Having said that, the place is in such a state it is likely to be a danger both to passersby and Mr Pegler himself, so intervention maybe required in that regards.
But where do you draw the line? It is classic case of personal freedom versus civic responsibility and one I am sure councillors are not keen to have to decide on.