Pensioner's 'invisible' house divides opinion - The Coventry Observer

17th Aug, 2022

Pensioner's 'invisible' house divides opinion

Coventry Editorial 9th Oct, 2014 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A GREEN-fingered pensioner’s love of gardening may not have quite taken over his life, but it’s certainly taken over his home.

Colin Melbourne’s house is so overgrown with ivy and conifers it is nearly invisible to passers-by.

The 78-year-old’s semi-detached property is unrecognisable from the front with the windows, front door and garage hidden under sprawling greenery.

Former Coventry Market trader Colin – who did not want to talk to the press – is understood to have taken up gardening after retiring from his stall selling bags.

While some neighbours in Lillington near Leamington have said the greenery needs bringing under control, others have said their road would not be the same without it.

Neighbour Tracy Dickson said: “Colin is a lovely man and a real character.

“No one minds that his garden is overgrown, it is a local landmark and probably wouldn’t be the same if he cut it all down.

“He has always shown an enthusiasm for gardening but it does look like his plants have got away from him a bit.”

But not everyone has been as supportive of the budding gardener’s leafy home.

One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: “The front garden has been a bit unruly but this summer the good weather has sent the ivy and conifers shooting skyward.

“I feel sorry for the people living next door because their home is nicely kept and has recently been repainted.

“The house has become a bit of an eyesore and the council really should take some action if for no other reason than to help him control his plants. It must be really depressing and very gloomy inside.”

Some neighbours have said they would be happy to help Mr Melbourne bring his wayward plants under control but feel he is too proud to ask for help.

District council development officer Gary Fisher told the Observer: “We have received no complaints regarding Mr Melbourne’s house. With matters such as overgrown or untidy land the council will, in the first instance, seek to encourage the owner of the property to arrange for the required work to be undertaken before considering any enforcement action.”

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