Pub owners in nightmare Japanese Knotweed battle which stopped their dream home

A husband and wife whose plans to build their dream home were suddenly put to a halt after discovering Japanese Knotweed on their land have won a battle against their council.

Gary and Sharon McDonald, both 51, who own Tame Valley Pub in Manchester, had exciting plans drawn up to build a house on their property until they discovered Japanese Knotweed, which had spread from neighbouring land owned by Tameside Council.

Japanese Knotweed, which was traditionally used to support railway embankments and its surrounding, can be a nightmare to remove due to its complex root systems.

The couple first turned to Liverpool-based High Street Solicitors in 2019, due to fears that the knotweed would affect the build and subsequently, would mean the property was unable to have a mortgage on it.

High Street Solicitors surveyed the property and found that the encroachment had spread from a large infestation on a nearby cemetery and had grown onto the pub's small garden – totalling 1.5m in size.

Mr and Mrs McDonald were recently handed £8000 from Tameside Council due to the development.

But the couple can't start work on the build until the treatment for the Japanese Knotweed has been finalised.

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Gary and Sharon McDonald told Daily Star: "When we first discovered the knotweed, we were really concerned.

"The plant can devalue properties and most importantly, affect the build on properties with encroachment.

"It would’ve also meant we wouldn’t have been able to get a mortgage and have the potential to affect our livelihood that we’ve worked so hard for."

They added: "Once it's gone, we'll be able to revert back to the plans we've had drawn up for a house on the property which is amazing; we should have free reign over our land, and High Street Solicitors have helped us get on our way to having just that."

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Joann Cameron, Litigation Executive, at High Street Solicitors said: "Japanese Knotweed can have the potential to cause damage to property and poses an immediate diminution of value of your property – this becomes apparent when you’re trying to sell your property or in Mr and Mrs McDonald’s case, build on the property and have a mortgage.

"It is extremely important that the Japanese Knotweed is eradicated and treated as quickly as possible in order to ensure the property and land is enjoyed by the proprietor, and that after treatment, the property becomes mortgageable again.

"High Street Solicitors also ensures that our clients obtain a 10 year back guarantee when treatment has been carried out."

A Tameside Council spokesperson said: "An issue with Japanese Knotweed spreading from Council land to another property was dealt with via Council insurance. A treatment plan is in place to prevent further issues."

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