Bamboozled: Ickleford man, 77, bemused by plant’s 15ft growth in weeks

PUBLISHED: 16:55 19 August 2018

Jim Muspratt has a bamboo shoot from his neighbours garden growing up through his gas box. Picture: DANNY LOO

Jim Muspratt has a bamboo shoot from his neighbours garden growing up through his gas box. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

A 77-year-old Ickleford man has been left bemused by the growth of bamboo yards up the side of his house and into his gas box, all in a few weeks.

Jim Muspratt has a bamboo shoot from his neighbours garden growing up through his gas box. Picture: DANNY LOOJim Muspratt has a bamboo shoot from his neighbours garden growing up through his gas box. Picture: DANNY LOO

Jim Muspratt was dwarfed by the massive 15ft foliage, which he says has resulted from his next-door neighbour’s planting of bamboo in a garden covered in masses of heavy foliage.

He says there is no point in him digging the plant out of his property unless his neighbour does the same on the other side, as otherwise the bamboo will just keep on coming back.

But housing association Settle – formerly North Hertfordshire Homes – say that under the terms of his tenancy, it’s his responsibility to sort it out.

Jim Muspratt has a bamboo shoot from his neighbours garden growing up through his gas box. Picture: DANNY LOOJim Muspratt has a bamboo shoot from his neighbours garden growing up through his gas box. Picture: DANNY LOO

“It’s just going to keep coming back and coming back,” said Jim, of Ryder Avenue.

“I’ve cut the plant down to below the window level. We did mention this to the housing officer when she came around 18 months ago – what would happen with these plants. But she said there was no problem with them.

“Another problem is that I can’t dig around the gas pipes. I’m too old to dig anyway, and I can’t afford to get people to come out and dig it out for me. So the gas people have got to do that.

Jim Muspratt has a bamboo shoot from his neighbours garden growing up through his gas box. Picture: DANNY LOOJim Muspratt has a bamboo shoot from his neighbours garden growing up through his gas box. Picture: DANNY LOO

“It’s all down to money as well. I don’t know who pays for it but I certainly can’t.”

Settle housing director Anita Khan said both Jim and his neighbour had been asked to make their own arrangements over the plants.

She said: “We’ve inspected both gardens and can see that the bamboo needs to be cut back. We’ll ask both neighbours to arrange for that to happen in their own gardens because that’s part of their tenancy agreement.

“The neighbour had previously offered to dig out the bamboo for Mr Muspratt, which would have helped, but was declined.

“Unfortunately, we’re unable to investigate the gas supply or meter as this is the gas supplier’s equipment – but if at anytime anyone smells gas or suspects a leak, they should call the National Grid straight away.”

The National Grid number is 0800 111 999.

Jim also expressed concerns that his neighbour’s front hedges were much higher than the 1m allowed by Settle. The housing association did not address this point when it was raised by the Comet.

Jim’s neighbour has not responded to our request for comment.

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