School fence victory for residents

The Lindisfarne Middle School fence that has been moved at the rear of Ray Prudhoe's house on Swansfield Park Road.
The Lindisfarne Middle School fence that has been moved at the rear of Ray Prudhoe's house on Swansfield Park Road.
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A SCHOOL fence which caused a furore after residents were prevented from getting out of the backs of their homes is to be completely re-sited, the Gazette can reveal.

A meeting of governors at Lindsfarne Middle School in Alnwick last night decided to uproot the six-foot-high barrier and move it away from properties on Swansfield Park Road, Lindisfarne Road, Greensfield Avenue and Blakelaw Road, 18 months after it was erected at a cost of £28,210.

It will cost an estimated £10,000 to relocate, they have confirmed.

The catalyst was a legal challenge by Swansfield Park Road resident Ray Prudhoe, who won a Land Registry adjudication last October to reassert his right-of-way access from his back garden, which had been blocked by the construction.

The 70-year-old retired local authority worker had been unable to take garden waste and wheelie bins around the back of his and neighbours’ homes to the front of his property – something he had done for 35 years.

Instead, he had to drag them through a utility room, kitchen and garage and then out onto his drive or the street.

On January 9, a section of the fence was moved further back to give Mr Prudhoe his access back, but his victory led to further claims from neighbouring residents.

One householder said: “This has gone on for nearly 20 months and we’re sick of it. We had three letters from the school at the beginning, but nowhere did they say how close the fence was going to be to our homes. Let’s hope that this time we’ll be told exactly what’s going to happen and when.

“We just want to be able to get out of our gardens to maintain our properties the way we used to.”

County councillor Gordon Castle said: “Thank goodness for common sense at last. While I had my own issues with the fence, the residents should have been properly consulted about its location. All of this should have been foreseen and could have been avoided with a residents’ meeting before anything went up.

“I have to pay tribute to Mr Prudhoe for having the tenacity to re-establish his right of way. It’s most regrettable that more public money will have to be spent on putting this right.”

Chairman of governors Ian Walker said: “This is as a result of the adjudication by the Land Registry. Before the fence was erected, the school contacted all residents to tell them what it was doing and that the fence would be put up on the boundary of the school, which is county council property.

“It is being moved by 1.5 metres all the way round. We expect it will be moved in mid-March and cost around £10,000 to do.”

Mr Prudhoe was unable to comment on this latest development.