Neighbours lodge complaints over overgrown plants

By Bryna Sim

To Ms Daphne Tan, the forest of plants outside her HDB flat is a source of joy and a botanical representation of heaven on earth.

But to her neighbours downstairs, the overgrown plants - clusters of red roses, trumpet flowers, gardenias, pomegranates, vines and climbers - were a source of irritation and a nuisance.

They complained that the overhanging greenery attracted flies, intruded into their space and claimed that it made their corridor dark.

Her plants are so numerous that they occupied a 5m stretch; from the recess area and all the way across the common corridor to the lift landing.

Before they were trimmed, the plants grew about 3m beyond the external facade of her flat. For about two years, the plants hung in the way of a harmonious relationship between Ms Tan and her neighbours at Commonwealth Crescent.

But last month, Ms Tan, a customer service officer in her 50s, finally gave in to the complaints and allowed her plants to be trimmed by officers from the HDB.

Still, she wasn't happy to do so.

"My plants have been hacked bald and are in pain," she exclaimed to The New Paper, when we visited her at home last Thursday.

Ms Tan, who is single, has been living alone in her three-room flat at Commonwealth Crescent since 1987.

The nature lover said she purchased the recess area outside her 10th storey corner unit for about $2,000 to grow her plants.

"The plants help me to feel at peace when I come back after a hard day's work," she said. To her, the more plants, the merrier.

Not to her neighbours though, who have made numerous complaints to the HDB since August 2009. Mr Jeffrey Tan, 49, who owns the unit directly below Ms Tan's, said he has made many complaints to HDB about the plants because they caused him much inconvenience.

He said he found himself constantly having to remove dry leaves and insects from his flat.

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