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Homeowners told: "Your garden belongs to us!"

Homeowners are told their gardens don't belong to them

An extraordinary legal battle has broken out over the front gardens of two streets in a seaside town in Sussex. Homeowners have been tending the gardens in St Leonards-on-Sea for years, believing they owned them.

Now, though, the people living in Coneyburrow Gardens and Inglewood Gardens have been told the land belongs to someone else, and they must pay hundreds of pounds if they want to buy the gardens.

Owner of untidy front garden fined

Homeowners fed up with the sight of builders rubbish piling up on their street say they felt like they were living next door to the neighbour from hell. Their complaint against Michael Smith was taken up by the council. They used new rules to take him to court and fine him. But Mr Smith said originally the council told him he was doing nothing wrong by storing the rubbish there and that he had every intention of clearing up in due course. John Ryall talks to Michael Smith and Hastings councillor Peter Chowney.

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Children's author gives garden talk

The children's author Philip Pullman is narrating a new audio tour at Oxford's Botanic Gardens. At the end of his book, "The Amber Spyglass" his main characters Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry agree to sit on a bench in the gardens every year on Midsummers Day.

As a result hundreds of fans of the "His Dark Materials Trilogy" have been visiting the garden to sit on this particular bench. Mr Pullman's voice is one of 21 recordings which guides visitors around the gardens.