A WAIST-HIGH trellis fence blocking a walkway across the front of Victorian houses is destined for a legal battle between neighbours.

The path that runs between the front of 14 privately-owned homes and their gardens on Common Road, Evesham, has been blocked by fencing between houses seven and eight. 

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A sign was put up on the fence that read ‘Private 14-8’ but that has been removed.

Evesham Journal:

It means the only access that does not include steps for numbers eight to 14 is blocked with all bar three of the other 13 houses supporting legal action according to resident Joanne Kitchen, who believes “it is what we are going to have to do”.

Evesham Journal:

Mrs Kitchen said neighbours have tried to liaise with and written to Julia Hartley, who is alleged to be behind the fence, but “have heard nothing since” and instructed a solicitor.

She added moving the fence had only resulted in it being fixed by screws and that police had attended a dispute over the matter at the weekend.

Mrs Kitchen said: “For us to go out now we have to go up steps. If someone in a wheelchair or even the emergency services needed access they could not get through. 

“For the people who live here, it is the quickest route towards town and we now have to go all the way round. It is a right of way on all our deeds. 

“It is all getting a bit contentious and it has made things really horrible.” 
She continued: “I have only lived here for four years, some of the people have been here for 20, 30 years. 

“The houses are 150 years old, they are the old gasworks cottages so that right of way has been there for just as long. 

“She (Mrs Hartley) tells us she has been here for 30 years so why this is suddenly a problem now I’m not sure. We think just does not want people walking past her home but she doesn’t have a choice.

“Because of how close the homes are, we all know each other and during lockdown everyone helped everyone, we would play a bit of music and have some socially-distant dancing in the mornings. 

“There is one elderly neighbour who does not come out to join us so much now, she can’t get through and doesn’t like the idea of walking all the way around.”

Fellow resident Holly Edwards added: “I’ve lived here for more than 30 years and this path is a feature of this road, not an inconvenience.

“During lockdown, my friend at number five, on the opposite side of this fence, was a real lifesaver so this makes it a bit more personal for me.” 

Another neighbour Hannah Owen said: “It feels like bullying, my little girls keep saying they just want things to get back to normal. We find it very sad.” 

West Mercia Police said: "At around 8pm on June 25 we were called to reports of a neighbour dispute over access at Common Road, Evesham.

"This is a civil matter, however our Safer Neighbourhood Team is engaging with all parties."

Mrs Hartley declined to comment.