A retiree faces a £30,000 court fee for blocking her neighbor’s driveway with potted plants during a 10-year quarrel.
Yvonne Rogers, a retired cab driver in Portchester, Hampshire, was sued by her grandmother Janice Wright for building a potted plant garden on her side of the common driveway between their homes.
Both homes on Allenby Grove share a single driveway, each owning half of its width but claiming a right of way over the entire length.
Infuriated Mrs. Wright complained that the pots and overgrown vegetation made it difficult for her to take her grandchild’s stroller to her home and obstructed the right-of-way she claims she possesses over the entire driveway.
Ms. Rogers, 72, now faces a £30,000 legal bill and a suspended prison sentence after disobeying a court order to remove her potted plants from the driveway.
Mrs. Wright complained to the Court of Appeals that her neighbor began blocking her driveway in 2012 by leaving flower pots on her side. She also positioned her wheelie bins and garden ornaments along the driveway and enabled trees and plants to grow from her side and overhang it.
BEFORE: Two residences on Allenby Grove in Portchester, Hampshire. The residence of Yvonne Rogers is on the left, while that of Janice Wright is on the right.
AFTER: The potted plant garden obstructs part of the shared driveway
Mrs. Wright, exasperated after years of back-and-forth, brought her neighbor to Winchester County Court last year, where she won an injunction directing Ms. Rogers to remove the impediment.
Judge Michael Berkley ruled Ms. Rogers to be in contempt of court in June of this year and ordered her to appear in court once again.
In his decision, he stated that Ms. Rogers had denied trespassing on the right-of-way and alleged that her neighbor was attempting to force her out of her property so that she could purchase it cheaply.
“I acknowledge that it is distressing for Mrs. Wright to reside next door to Ms. Rogers under these conditions,” he stated.
Yvonne Rogers, who now faces a £30,000 court bill after ignoring a court order requiring her to remove the potted plants from the common roadway, now faces a £30,000 court bill.
Mrs. Wright indicated to me that not only is this an infringement of her right of way, but it also creates significant practical issues.
The concrete portion of the driveway cannot be used due to the encroachment, making it difficult for the homeowner to move her garbage cans to the front of the house for collection and to carry her granddaughter’s stroller up and down the driveway.
Therefore, this is an issue of personal inconvenience for Ms. Wright and her family, and not only a violation of the court order.
He said, “I take into account the fact that Mrs. Wright’s right of way has been obstructed for quite some time.” Mrs. Wright has been very forgiving to Ms. Rogers throughout the years, judging by the amount of vegetation that she has permitted to grow.
The two houses, along with the flower pots, as seen on Google Maps
Rather from attending the court proceedings, she sent a series of emails including “threats, insults, and accusations” against individuals involved, including Mrs. Wright, he claimed.
“The defendant’s actions in this issue have caused Mrs. Wright extreme distress, anxiety, terror, and financial burden,” he added.
In September, he sentenced her to six months in prison for disregarding the restraining order.
Ms. Rogers’ attorney, John King, argued last week for a reversal of her sentence, stating that she had removed the pots after the June hearing and would now trim the shrubs. He added that she has’severe underlying’ health problems and wishes to leave the street to put the incident behind her.
“This is a long-running and acrimonious dispute between neighbors that has been allowed to spiral out of control, both inside and outside the courtroom, with sad but inevitable consequences for Ms. Rogers’ mental health, which has added to and exacerbated her already fragile physical health,” he told the court.
She has taken proactive measures toward selling her home and leaving the neighborhood. She believes the transaction might be finalized within a year.
Lord Justice Stuart-Smith stated that the court will render a final decision on the sentence appeal at a later date, but would delay Ms. Rogers’ sentence so that she would not be sent to prison pending that decision.
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