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Chester resident's barbecue gazebo 'must be pulled down'

Published date: 01 August 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A CHESTER resident has been left “fuming” after he was told to take down a gazebo he helped build in a community garden.

Lewis Egerton, 40, of Dorset Place, Kingsway, Plas Newton, built a gazebo in the communal garden of the flats he lives in with a friend for one the residents son’s fifth birthday party.

But just two weeks later he was told by Chester and District Housing Trust to take down the wooden structure, which has been used by many of the residents, or face the cost of its removal.

Mr Egerton has called the decision “mad” and said he was just trying to do something nice for everyone in the block of flats, and spent his own money doing so.

He said: “We built it for a kid’s birthday party but it was for everyone to use. All of the neighbours like it.

“We are having things all the time in it. We’ve already had a few barbecues in it already – it is somewhere to keep the stuff out of the way of the kids as well. More than anything, it looks nice.”

As well as putting up the gazebo, which has a temporary tarpaulin roof in case of rain, Mr Egerton and his neighbours have added a number of potted plants and flower beds around the site.

Mr Egerton added: “The trust are saying it is a health and safety issue but it is solid.

It is a wooden structure, it is not permanent so I don’t need permission to build it.

“I was just trying to give something back to the community. I’m getting persecuted for trying to have a nice thing for the community.

“I just think it sinks. It is so frustrating. It is mad to say it is a health and safety issue. I’m fuming to be honest.”

When the Leader visited Mr Egerton he pointed out a number of roof tiles that had fallen off an outbuilding, which is managed by CDHT, and said that was more of a health and safety issue than his gazebo.

A spokesman for Sanctuary Housing, on behalf of Chester and District Housing Trust, said: “We became aware of Mr Egerton’s project when he first started building the structure and told him to stop because he rents his home and must share the communal garden area with others living in this block of flats.

“He chose to continue to build the gazebo in the full knowledge that we would not permit the structure.

“Whilst we admire his enthusiasm and can see that he has put a lot of work into the project, we cannot allow it to remain as we have to consider the safety of all our residents and have serious concerns about its size, proximity to the property boundary and other outbuildings in the limited space of the garden area, responsibility for the maintenance and safety of the construction, lack of consultation with neighbours, and the fire risk associated with barbecuing under a wooden structure.

“We take the safety of our tenants very seriously so want to thank Mr Egerton for pointing out the loose tiles on one of the other outbuildings in the garden, and we will be sending an operative to repair this as a matter of urgency.”

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