Anger sparked over proposals to install fence at grass verge

Warkworth
Warkworth

Furious residents have voiced their objections to county-council plans for fencing along a grass verge which they use for vehicular access.

A number of villagers living in Warkworth have criticised the ‘deeply-flawed’ scheme and say it will create health and safety issues.

Residents currently drive over the land, owned by the county council, to access their properties at The Guildens.

At Warkworth Parish Council, Richard Diggens, of The Guildens, said: “The majority of residents in The Guildens object to the erection of a fence cutting them off from the road.

“We have existed as a harmonious community for more than 50 years and for most of that time, residents have crossed the grass verge to park vehicles on private land. If this access is taken away, vehicles will have to permanently park on the road, adding to traffic chaos and road-safety issues.

“Common sense would be to allow legal and proper access for residents, perhaps along with a sign requesting no parking on the grass.

“The 1988 Road Traffic Act says it is not an offence to drive a mechanically-propelled vehicle on any land within 15 yards of a road, being a road on which a motor vehicle may lawfully be driven, for the purpose only of parking the vehicle on that land.”

He said there had been no consultation and added: “If it is built in front of people’s homes, it will make it difficult for emergency services to gain access.

“People getting out of parked cars will not be able to reach the pavement without climbing over the fence or dodging traffic to find a gap in it. The fence would be an accident waiting to happen and before long someone would trip over and injure themselves. The fence would channel children straight back into the road rather than to the safety of the grass.”

Parish council chairman Jeff Watson said: “The decision is the county council’s, not the parish council’s. It is the county council’s land. By driving over it, you are continuing to ignore what the county council is telling you.”

He added that there would be gaps in the fence and that the parish council had supported the county council’s plans to stop ‘misuse of the area’.

The parish council carried out a letter drop to inform residents about the fence proposal. But it has agreed to obtain a more definitive answer from the county council about the issue.