Suffolk

Alan Titchmarsh 'jungle' garden in Henstead can open to the public

Alan Titchmarsh and Andrew Brogan Image copyright Henstead Exotic Garden
Image caption Alan Titchmarsh visited Andrew Brogan's garden for his TV programme Britain's Best Back Gardens

A "jungle" back garden, once praised by Alan Titchmarsh, has won permission to open to the public, despite complaints from neighbours.

Henstead Exotic Garden, near Beccles, Suffolk had been opening for about 60 days a year in the summer.

Owner Andrew Brogan applied for retrospective planning permission from Waveney District Council

The council granted permission on the grounds that it was an important tourist attraction.

A neighbouring household had objected to increased traffic and noise.

Image caption The garden features linked ponds as well as a compost toilet for visitors
Image caption A pavilion provides a viewing area of the 0.7 acre (0.3 hectare) site

Mr Brogan began creating his 0.7 acre (0.3 hectare) garden, featuring bamboo and other exotic plants, a decade ago and opened it to the public.

'Blown away'

Alan Titchmarsh featured it in his ITV programme Britain's Best Back Gardens in January.

He said: "Walking into the garden was like walking into the jungle - it's like Belize comes to Beccles.

"You don't expect it anywhere and certainly not in dry East Anglia. I was blown away."

Image caption Andrew Brogan among the bamboo at his garden between Beccles and Kessingland

Last year the garden in Church Road, Henstead, attracted 1,000 visitors, who were allowed to park at a property across the road.

However, a neighbouring household objected via a solicitor, who stated "it is helpful the public have already started visiting the site, as highways and parking problems have already become apparent".

The council said it had received 23 letters of no objection or support from other villagers.

Mr Brogan said: "A couple of years ago we started to do openings to raise funds for the running of the garden and everyone else in the village has supported me."

The garden will open between 11:00 and 17:00 BST on Wednesdays from May to October, with permission to open for up to five evenings until 21:00 BST.

The objection letter said planning approval was "likely to be challenged in the High Court".

The neighbours' solicitor said they had no comment to make.

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