Opposite our house is now a building site. It was originally the garden of St. John's, a large Victorian church but was sold off years ago to pay for an organ. The site has been sold before but nothing was done with it and we had pipe dreams of making it into a community garden.
The new owner, a builder, bought it at an auction from the bank who had repossessed it and now he's clearing the site himself with a digger. He's knocked down part of the Portland stone wall which separated the road from the site and cleared years worth of fly-tipping and japanese knotweed but he's also smashed up the buddleias which were in a purple patch and making the butterflies happy.
He's had two huge fires which smoked up the neighbours' houses and both times they called the fire brigade on him, although he says he'd let the service know ahead that he was having a controlled fire.
"Nobody wants this site cleared," he complained on Saturday. "I'm thinking of selling it. I know they was looking for a place to put a half-way house for prisoners when they get out. They've spoken to me about buying this so I might just let them 'ave it and save meself the hassle."
"We want it cleared," I said.
"You're in a tiny minority."
Jamie looks a bit pale about the prospect of a halfway house across the road.
"Maybe he just wants the residents to think more kindly about his garages," I say.