Cardiff: Self-confessed hoarder ordered by council to clean up overgrown garden

Media Wales
"People will think I'm very eccentric but it doesn't matter", self-confessed hoarder ordered by council to clean up his garden. Credit: Media Wales

A self-confessed hoarder has been ordered by Cardiff Council to clean up his overgrown garden.

79-year-old William Glyn Cross has lived in his bungalow in Thornhill, Cardiff, for 35 years. A supporter of environmental group Friends of the Earth, he says the garden is a 'shrine to sustainable living' by reusing things and growing food.

"My philosophy is about making Wales and the whole world happy," said Mr Cross.

He continued: "People will think I'm very eccentric but it doesn't matter".

William Glyn Cross said he takes great pride in "the ecological side" of his garden. Credit: Media Wales

Last month, the authority took Mr Cross to Cardiff Magistrates' Court as it was concerned about the "accumulations" outside his home possibly being a home for rats.

The former teacher was found guilty of failing to comply with a council notice to remove "general rubbish and ground-covering overgrowth". He was ordered to pay £400 and clear the garden.

Mr Cross admitted he was "getting the balance wrong" and is prepared to reduce the clutter on 'his own terms' and at 'his own pace' by hiring people to help him over the coming months. Disagreeing with the enforced clearance threatened by the council, he believes it would be a "desecration".

He continued: "I am not proud of being a hoarder. I do need help, it's become too much for me to control at my age. But I'd rather pay people to help. I don't want to be bossed around."

Mr Cross has lived in his Cardiff home for 35 years. Credit: Wales Media

According to Mr Cross, the council became involved following a complaint in October 2021 by a neighbour claiming rats had eaten their potatoes. He claimed the problem was "all solved" by January 2022. A council spokesman said Mr Cross had been given "a significant amount of time" to "remove the build-up of waste and cut back the overgrowth".

The spokesman added: "Unfortunately, this hasn’t been carried out, so the council has a duty to act due to the rat infestation affecting neighbouring properties."Mr Cross said he failed to meet the deadline of 18 September that the council had proposed and said he was warned of a much heavier fine than last month's court sentence if he failed to comply.

He said: "I would like to get on with the job (decluttering) instead of continually interacting with people who are pestering me".

Mr Cross hopes to give some items away to local schools and added he will "try to stop" any council team sent to clear the site.

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