Neighbours plead with couple to trim bush let loose for 40 years

Neighbours plead with couple to trim bush let loose for 40 years

The home in Downham, Bromley, South east London, is absolutely covered in Virginia creeper (Picture: Triangle News)

A home famous for its massive bush could finally get a trim after almost half a century.

Michael and Teresa Lye moved into the home in Downham, Bromley, south east London, in 1984, and paid just £24,000.

The estate was opened by a member of the royal family in the 1920s and those moving in were given Virginia creeper by the council to make their homes look nice.

The pair attempted to tame the plant when they first moved in but it grew so fast it now covers everything except bits of the windows and a small wall area on an extension.

Teresa recently lost her husband and said the plant helps insulate the home.

But locals now want the Virginia creeper to be chopped back.

Mark Philpot, 59, said he thought the property looked strange among all the other more brutal homes.

‘It probably attracts a load of bugs,’ he joked.

Mark Philpot is unhappy with the massive plant (Picture: Triangle News)

The home looks like a giant bush sat by the road (Picture: Triangle News)

It has been like this now for 40 years (Picture: Triangle News)

‘I think something like that probably would look nice in a little village but it’s a bit out of place in Downham as it’s very concrete.’

Neighbour Eric Sands, 90, has a long affiliation with the area and said he wasn’t keen, but he did sympathise with Teresa.

He said: ‘My family moved here 88 years ago and all the time I’ve been an old man it’s been like that.

‘They’re the owners so obviously they can do what they like. I’d imagine it’d be very difficult to take it all off now as it’ll pull all the tiles up.’

What is Virginia creeper?

Virginia creeper is an aggressive deciduous climbing plant and is also known as the five-leaved ivy.

While the plant is not known to damage brickwork, it is not advised to let it grow in excessive amounts on houses.

Building surveyor Brien Walker said: ‘Virginia creeper is not generally considered to be damaging to traditional house materials per se, but as with most things that is all a matter of degree.

‘This level of growth will probably trap water underneath on the flatter surfaces and probably excessively dry out the vertical ones so moisture retention, or conversely the lack of it, could well damage the surfaces even if the plant does not.’

Another local said: ‘It’s not my thing, green just isn’t my colour. To be honest I think that look is more laziness than planned.

‘I’ve been here 26 years and it has always been like that – it’s definitely not my sort of look though.’

But others like its appearance including another neighbour who said: ‘I think the owners have become local legends. I always see people taking pictures and slowing down to have a look.

‘I like it – it’s a good landmark.’

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