Resident’s anger at overgrown castle

Ray Holt, who lives right next to Ponte Castle is complaining that the council isn't maintaining the grounds properly, allowing plants and weeds to overhang into his garden.
Ray Holt, who lives right next to Ponte Castle is complaining that the council isn't maintaining the grounds properly, allowing plants and weeds to overhang into his garden.

ANGRY pensioner Ray Holt has hit out at Wakefield Council for failing to keep weeds and rubbish at bay at Pontefract Castle.

The 78-year-old says he has to complain every year to the authority to get weeds cut back which hang into the garden of his home on Southgate, which backs onto the castle, as well as blocking the public pathway, while rubbish dumped at the site attracts rats.

Mr Holt said: “Every year I have to pester the council, I’ve lived here 13 years and I have to battle over this every year.

“They’ve only been out once this year, because I complained, but only did half of the work, and with the weather we’ve had everything’s really grown.

“I’m desperate, at the back of the castle it’s a complete tip and we are smothered with rats. I can’t live with that.”

Mr Holt said when he first moved there householders paid a peppercorn rent to maintain the rear of the castle grounds where it backed onto their properties, but English Heritage called a halt to the arrangement and it fell to the council.

He added: “After I complained again to the council I was promised it would be cut by September 4. Then I said I was talking to the Express, and within two hours someone came down and cut it down, but they still haven’t done it all – there are brambles growing through the wall.”

Glynn Humphries, service director for cleaner and greener, said: “As soon as we were made aware of the litter problem and overgrown weeds our team went down to the site and removed the rubbish and ensured that the area was cut back.

“We have cleared this area of vegetation and litter in the last three months and will continue to visit on a regular basis to keep the site clear. We will also be weed spraying to help eliminate further growth. If the problem does occur again please report it to the council by calling 0845 850 6506.”