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Residents in Wickhambrook, between Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill, furious and mystified after gardens damaged by weedkiller





Residents have been left furious and mystified after their gardens were damaged by weedkiller.

Sections of lawns, shrubs and trees in Boyden Close, Wickhambrook, were killed by haphazard spraying of herbicides on May 1.

Residents have no clue who is responsible despite contacting the district and county councils and want answers and compensation for the damage.

John Farrant, 63, and Phil King, 64, residents of Boyden Close, Wickhambrook, between Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill, have been left furious and mystified after their gardens were damaged by weedkiller. Picture: Ross Waldron
John Farrant, 63, and Phil King, 64, residents of Boyden Close, Wickhambrook, between Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill, have been left furious and mystified after their gardens were damaged by weedkiller. Picture: Ross Waldron

Wickhambrook Parish Council (WPC) said it wants an apology for those affected and has been working with West Suffolk Council (WSC), Suffolk County Council (SCC) and Havebury Housing Association to determine what happened but none of them had been able to say who caused the damage.

“We can’t work out who has done it,” said Phil King, 64, who has lived in Boyden Close with his wife Angela for 24 years.

“I take great care in keeping my grass cut, feeding and weeding it. Now what I’ve got to do is dig up the lawn, put more soil down and returf it, I’m totally frustrated.

Mr King has lived in Boyden Close, Wickhambrook, for 24 years and said something like this has never happened before. Picture: Ross Waldron
Mr King has lived in Boyden Close, Wickhambrook, for 24 years and said something like this has never happened before. Picture: Ross Waldron
Mr King wants compensation as he will have to returf his garden. Picture: Ross Waldron
Mr King wants compensation as he will have to returf his garden. Picture: Ross Waldron

“Why the hell should I have to do that? Someone’s incompetence has killed it and I want someone to own up, claim responsibility and compensate us.”

John Farrant, 63, said the damage to his garden stretched as far as a metre and he is worried he may have to reseed his whole garden.

“I’m fed up – what concerns me is that, now the grass is dead, I won’t be able to get the grass to match as I don’t know what the exact seed is.

Mr Farrant, who has lived in Boyden Close, Wickhambrook, for 36 years, said the the damage to his garden stretched as far as a metre in. Picture: Ross Waldron
Mr Farrant, who has lived in Boyden Close, Wickhambrook, for 36 years, said the the damage to his garden stretched as far as a metre in. Picture: Ross Waldron

“I’ve lived here 36 years and never had it sprayed like that.”

Sally Ward, 41, has lived in Boyden Close for two years and had three of her garden trees, which were planted around six months ago, killed by the herbicides.

“It just looks untidy – when people drive up the road it looks awful. I’ve had to rip the trees out and start again.

Mr Farrant feels he may have to reseed his whole garden as he does not know what the exact seed is which has been damage. Picture: Ross Waldron
Mr Farrant feels he may have to reseed his whole garden as he does not know what the exact seed is which has been damage. Picture: Ross Waldron

“We’d like compensation but I doubt we’d get anything back as it’s more money than I would like to spend.

The residents have been in contact with WSC and SCC, but said there has been buck passing all around with both bodies saying it is the other’s responsibility.

Hilary Workman, parish clerk at WPC, said: “Understandably, people are upset at the damage that’s been caused to their gardens and public spaces.

Picture: Ross Waldron
Picture: Ross Waldron

“We would like an apology for the damage caused, and for residents to be told how it will be rectified. But more importantly, we want to be reassured that anyone who is using herbicides in our parish will be properly trained so that this doesn’t happen again.”

Ms Workman added that SCC has advised that if residents wish to repair the damage to their property, they should take pictures before starting any remedial work.

WSC said none of its operatives were in the village at the time of the incident.

A spokesperson said: “We use our own staff and not contractors and, following a motion at council, have not used herbicides to spray weeds like this for more than a year.

“Some of the areas that have been sprayed are not cut or maintained by us, such as the area around the village hall.”

The spokesperson also urged anyone with further information to contact WPC, with whom WSC has been working.

SCC was approached for comment.