‘Monster house’ prompts investigation after lying empty for years

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Halton Council has launched an investigation into an overgrown property in Widnes which local children have dubbed ‘the monster house’.

The ECHO reported last week how neighbours of the property in Alfred Street, Widnes, were up in arms over its wildly overgrown condition.

The property had been empty since the owner left four years ago.

Since then, ivy, a tree and assorted bushes had grown to cover the entire front of the house, prompting neighbour Paul Miller to liken it to a scene from sci-fi novel The Day of the Triffids, where carnivorous mutant plants take over the world.

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ECHO readers too were left shocked by the sight. Commenting on the story on the Echo website, reader Boris said: “I'll give Allan Titchmarsh a bell,” while Madasaboxoffrogs, added: “Need the special branch on the case.”

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Mr Miller and other neighbours had asked the owner to deal with the overgrowth but he had so far failed to do so. They had also reported the matter to the council but said there was still no sign of any action being taken.

A Halton Borough Council spokeswoman said the authority would not normally intervene in these types of cases, but that it was investigating whether the house’s overgrown nature made it a ‘statutory nuisance’.

She said: “Overgrown gardens would not normally be an environmental health matter.

“However, in this case, the neighbouring residents have already been advised by the council that we will investigate whether the condition of the property amounts to a statutory nuisance.”

Mr Miller said since the story ran last week, more people had been heading down there to take selfies. He added that council inspectors had been to the property and told him they were referring the matter to the authority’s planning department.

He said: “What the council need to be doing is looking at the community and area as a whole, we want the council to do the right thing.”