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Dudley widow faces uncertain future after home left worthless by knotweed
10:30am Wednesday 29th January 2014 in News
A DUDLEY widow is facing an uncertain future after being told Japanese knotweed has left her house is worthless.
Jean Hale, aged 75, cannot borrow cash for home upgrades which would allow her to cope with worsening arthritis because the plant is growing on an embankment next to her home.
Lenders say the knotweed will eventually undermine the foundations of her Uplands Road house meaning she will not get a loan against the property and no potential buyer would get a mortgage.
Mrs Hale said: “Nobody will touch it, we have to think of the future, my condition is going to get worse and I want to get ready for when it does.”
Dudley Council owns the embankment next to Mrs Hale’s house. She moved into the property 40 years ago, long before the knotweed arrived, and says the plant needs to be eradicated or the authority should buy her house.
The mother-of-one said: “It was all up the bank, it’s not my problem but it gives me a problem. They should buy the house or remove the knotweed and they won’t do that because it will cost them quite a lot of money.
“I feel I am banging my head against a brick wall – they don’t want to know.”
Mrs Hale says the authority has tried previously to clear the embankment but the notoriously difficult-to-shift knotweed keeps coming back.
Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, Dudley cabinet member responsible for green care, said: "For some time we have been treating the Japanese knotweed on land off Uplands Road, and have had some significant success in preventing it from spreading.
“Recent checks showed the weed is now under control, however, we will continue to monitor and treat the problem until it has completely gone. In the meantime, we are happy to discuss the ongoing work with the neighbouring resident to ensure she is fully informed."
Japanese knotweed was introduced into Britain in the 19th century as an ornamental plant but spreads quickly by forcing out other species.
It spreads through an underground section of stem which can force its way up through concrete, a one centimetre section of stem can produce a new plant every ten days and knotweed can lie dormant in soil for up to 20 years.
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