A COUPLE have spoken of their relief after they were allowed to keep their beloved garden.

Barry and Eileen McElearney, who live in West Wylam, have lovingly tended to their garden for 14 years.

However, their property is now managed by Karbon Homes and they were told would have to return their garden to its previous condition at their own cost.

Eileen said: “We get lots of compliments on our garden. It’s been in for 14 years, we got verbal permission to do it from Milecastle Housing.

“We wouldn’t have spent the money and the time if we didn’t have permission. Then out of the blue, a young lady from Karbon came in July. She said ‘it’s going to have to go’. We couldn’t take it in.”

Barry added: “We can’t afford to go on holiday these days, so we spent the summer in the garden watching the birds and our dogs play. That’s as good as a holiday for us.”

Karbon Homes backed down after pressure from county councillor for Prudhoe South, Gordon Stewart, and Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman.

Kelly Taylor, assistant director for specialist housing at Karbon Homes, said: “Prior to Karbon Homes being formed in April 2017, some of our customers were granted permission to erect fences and cultivate the enclosed areas, and have taken pride in maintaining these areas.

“We have taken the decision that any existing fences and planting can remain in place while the current resident lives there.

“We want to apologise that historical decisions have led to an inconsistent approach. However, we now aim to have a clear and consistent policy on this matter.”

Eileen added: “We’re very much relieved. We can relax now. The help we got from Gordon and Guy Opperman was really appreciated. We couldn’t have done it without them.”