The battle against eyesore front gardens is spreading further a-field to include two new wards.
Eastbrook ward in Dagenham and Eastbury in Barking will now come under the spotlight from Barking and Dagenham Council's team of Eyesore officers. The taskforce, made up of experienced environmental health officers and street wardens, will be carrying on the good work they've been doing in south Dagenham for the last three months.
When the campaign was launched in October it started in the three Dagenham wards of Alibon, Village and River, because these are the areas with the highest proportion of privately rented accommodation - something often linked to untidy gardens. But due to its overwhelming success the council plans to roll the scheme out to cover the whole borough, starting with Eastbury and Eastbrook. Eastbrook has been chosen because it's adjacent to the existing wards, and Eastbury so the team can start work in Barking.
Since its launch the Eyesore team has visited 2,261 households leading to 2,080 gardens being cleared voluntarily. A total of 15.5 tons of rubbish has been cleared from gardens, creating a visible improvement in the look of the neighbourhood.
Eyesore Gardens was set up in response to complaints from members of the public who said they were fed up with looking at front gardens full of rubbish or overgrown weeds. The council's response was to go on the offensive by taking a pro-active approach to the problem. Properties with eyesore gardens are visited and the occupants asked to clear the mess. If there is no action they return to the property and issue a formal notice. Ultimately the landlord or resident can end up with a fine.
If the householder cannot do the work through no fault of their own, due to disability or old age, the council will provide assistance.
Cllr Liam Smith, Leader of the Council, said: "The statistics and the positive feedback has convinced us that Eyesore Gardens has to be rolled out to the four corners of the borough.
"Eastbury and Eastbrook have been chosen as the next areas to benefit, so I would urge anyone living in those areas to contact the team if there is an eyesore in their street."
Residents can report an Eyesore Garden by calling (020) 8215 3010, writing to them at Frizlands Depot, Frizlands Lane, Dagenham, RM10 7HX, or using the online form by visiting www.barking-dagenham.gov.uk/eyesore.