Original article from Kent Live
A Tonbridge mum has been left on the verge of a breakdown after her neighbours piled their garden high with rubbish.
Michelle Shorter, of Trench Road, says she's at her wits' end due to her next-door neighbours regularly filling their garden with plastic sacks of rubbish over the last 18 years.
She claims the piles of waste in the garden of the Clarion Housing Association owned property have taken a toll on her mental health and left her facing a rat infestation.
Michelle told KentLive: “I feel on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I can’t emphasise enough that I’m the victim in this.
“I’m being shown zero respect by Clarion and my neighbours.”
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Michelle claimed she has spent £10 a week on rat poison for the last few years in an attempt to combat the rodent infestation.
She also forked out £1000 erecting a six-foot high fence to block out the view of her neighbours’ garden.
The problem has been building for years and despite getting in contact with Clarion Housing Association, Environmental Health and Tonbridge and Malling Borough council several times, it remains unresolved.
Michelle says she is yet to receive a personal response from Clarion Housing Assocation.
She added: “They’re protecting them to the detriment of us, it doesn’t seem a fair situation at all.”
'How have they slipped through the net?'
According to Michelle, whenever she registers a complaint with Clarion they arrange a skip to collect the rubbish, but her neighbours soon leave it to accumulate again.
She also claimed that each time her neighbours receive a letter from Environmental Health they set fire to the rubbish, filling the neighbourhood with toxic fumes.
Michelle said: “They have no deterrent to change their behaviour because I’m the one who’s arranging a skip to arrive.
“Clarion are supposed to do checks on their tenants and properties – how have they slipped through the net?”
Michelle bought the house next to the Clarion Housing Association property 18 years ago.
Up until she purchased the property, her garden had been used as a makeshift tip by the neighbours.
Whilst she worked hard to renovate her house, she said the property next door has fallen into disrepair.
Michelle added that her children, Samuel, 24, and Eloise, 18, who have now left home, were also badly affected by growing up next to the unhygienic environment.
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council councillor Georgina Thomas said: “The council have ordered the residents to remove the rubbish by June 21.
“We will be pushing Clarion to remove it if it isn’t sorted by then.”
A spokesperson for Clarion Housing Association said: “We are committed to keeping our communities clean, tidy and free of rubbish and we work with residents and the local authority to do this.
“It is not acceptable for rubbish to build up and we are working with the borough council and the resident to ensure this does not continue to be a problem and have arranged removal today until a permanent solution is implemented.”