A COUNCILLOR is calling on residents to clean up their front gardens, saying they’re a bloomin’ mess.

Martin Goss, Colchester councillor for Mile End ward, has been so incensed by the untamed flora in Hakewill Way that he has posted letters to residents telling them they are letting their neighbours down.

Mr Goss, whose front garden is pictured below, asked the residents to cut their grass and tidy up their territory.

The green-fingered Lib Dem said the problem seemed to be at rented houses.

He said: “I am getting more complaints about people at private rented accommodation not maintaining their gardens.

“There are a number of properties I have had to write to reminding them to keep their front gardens in order.

“They are letting them become wildly overgrown.”

Mr Goss was told by one landlord action could only be taken with the tenant’s consent, as they would have to foot the bill.

He said some tenants had cut back their front gardens since he sent the letters, but added: “Some haven’t bothered and I shouldn’t have to tell them to do it.

“It is beyond the call of duty as a councillor, but I also have to be innovative.”

People living in the area said it was a thorny issue. Marina deSmith, a homeowner in nearby Bardsley Close, said: “It lowers the tone when a garden is knee-deep in weeds, it doesn’t look very nice.

“Up the road from here you have got one house that has a front garden full of flowers and next door, slap bang next to it, is full of weeds.”

Mrs deSmith said she even did some weeding on the front gardens of empty properties herself.

She added: “If you don’t want to maintain your garden, make it low maintenance. Put a suppressing membrane down and then you don’t need to cut the lawn every week.”

Another homeowner in Hakewill Way, who declined to be named, added: “Generally, the ones that are tidy and looked after tend to be owner-occupied and the ones that are a mess are the rented ones.”

But another homeowner in Hutley Drive said Mr Goss should mind his own business. They said: “If someone has got a battered old car sitting in their garden and it is an eyesore, fair enough.

“I have got a few nettles, but it is not the end of the world and it is not going to devalue the house. Mr Goss has got no right telling people what they can and can’t do with their garden. There isn’t a garden on the estate that is absolutely ridiculous.”