Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Neighbours Tell Homefront's Laurence: Not in Our Backyard; BBC Ordered to Take Down Garden Creation after a Storm of Complaints

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Neighbours Tell Homefront's Laurence: Not in Our Backyard; BBC Ordered to Take Down Garden Creation after a Storm of Complaints

Article excerpt

Byline: MIRA BAR-HILLEL;TERESA KEANE

HIS home and garden makeovers have made him a star with millions of fans.

With his flamboyant sense of style, and his fondness for bright colours and recycled materials, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is the man who has transformed hundreds of interiors and back gardens - sometimes to the horror of the people who asked for the radical overhaul.

But, when he and his team descended on the back garden of Nial and Liz Ferguson in suburban Streatham, it was not the homeowners but the neighbours who reacted with shock to the "garden structure" produced for Homefront In The Garden.

The local council was bombarded with letters urging the removal of the creation, which was variously described as "garish", "vulgar" and "a deliberate attempt to attack the relative harmony of the existing landscape".

Now the BBC has been ordered by Lambeth council to remove Llewelyn-Bowen's creation within 12 weeks, or council enforcement officers will deal with the eyesore.

Work on the structure began last September.

Almost as soon as BBC crews arrived in treelined Killieser Avenue, residents were at odds with the show, which saw Llewelyn-Bowen and co-presenter Diarmuid Gavin redesign the Ferguson's garden and bathroom.

Neighbour Cecely Holliday said: "The BBC just bulldozed through, only aware of their time schedules. We thought the crews were selfish, rude and inconsiderate and it was all about them, them, them."

When the BBC finally finished its task, neighbours reacted with bewilderment at what had been produced. Instead of the decking they had been prepared for, they got a massive floodlit building more than two metres high, surrounded by slate standing stones and made of interlocking railway sleepers and coloured perspex, all held together by steel pins - and complete with built-in stereo speakers. …

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