VICTORY: Sylvie King can keep her plants
VICTORY: Sylvie King can keep her plants

A HOUSING association has agreed that a Barnard Castle resident can keep her treasured pot plants after being told staff would remove them and bill her for it.
Sylvie King, who is partially sighted and has only partial hearing, moved into her ground floor flat in Queen Street four years ago, bringing with her a range of outdoor pot plants from London.
As an asthma sufferer Mrs King has been shielding at her home since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, only venturing out for an hour a day to tend her plants and pick up essential supplies.
Tucked against the exterior wall of her flat Mrs King said she has been complimented on her unusual variety of greenery by passers-by.
She said: “A few months ago, the housing officer was moving someone in next door and she said in passing I would have to get rid of some of the pots that were sticking out because someone could trip over them, so I did.”
Having removed the pots that encroached into the pavement area around her flat, she thought that was the end of the matter.
Mrs King said: “Now North Star Housing told me that if I don’t get rid of all my other plants, they will do it for me and charge me.”
North Star Housing stated in the letter: “North Star will allow you to keep one large pot. North Star may be liable if there are any accidents or issues as a result of these items. If they are not removed by 2 November 2020 then we will need to remove them and we will recharge for this.”
Mrs King added: “I’ve been told I would have to move if I wanted to keep all my plants.”
However, after the Teesdale Mercury contacted the housing association, North Star relented. A spokesman said: “I can confirm North Star has been working with Mrs King to address some safety concerns which were brought to our attention. As a result of this we have been working with Mrs King to address these concerns. Although Mrs King was initially asked to remove the pots from the exterior of the property, further inspection of the area identified that so long as the area remains clear and safe, there is no requirement for Mrs King to remove the pots. We will be confirming this with Mrs King.”