Row over broken fence sparks safety fears in Costessey
Peter WalshA worried householder has called for action to be taken to repair a broken fence between a ditch and area of woodland, used by dog walkers and families, before someone is hurt.Peter Walsh
A worried householder has called for action to be taken to repair a broken fence between a ditch and area of woodland, used by dog walkers and families, before someone is hurt.
Chris Hopper has contacted Costessey Parish Council with concerns about the state of a fence at the rear of his home at Hinshalwood Way, Old Costessey.
The fence sits between a ditch, which is part of the land owned by householders in the area, and land next to Greenhills Woods, which is owned by the parish council.
Mr Hopper, who bought his property 12 years ago from Artesian Developments, said although the fence was at the back of his house, it sat on land owned by the parish council and so he could not touch it.
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But he said the parish council has refused to repair the fence and instead proposed that it should be removed altogether - a suggestion which Mr Hopper would make the situation even more dangerous for walkers and families in the area.
Mr Hopper, 64, a retired group treasurer for Norwich Union, now Aviva, said: 'It's very dangerous and would be quite easy for someone to slip off the path and into the piece of fence that's sticking in the air at the moment.
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'We're not allowed to touch the fence and the parish council won't accept responsibility for it even though it's on their land. If everyone agreed, the parish council said it would take the fencing down, but no-one has agreed to that.
'If it is taken down and someone falls into the ditch and hurts themselves they will claim on us and not the parish council because it's our ditch they fell into.'
In addition to writing to Costessey Parish Council, Mr Hopper said he has also contacted South Norfolk Council, the ombudsman, and South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon about the issue, but to no avail.
Rachel Jackson, clerk of Costessey Parish Council, said when the houses were built there in the late 1990s, the then developer contacted the parish council and asked if they could put a fence in between their land and the development which was agreed.
Mrs Jackson said: 'The post and rail fence is now in a poor state. Mr Hopper came to the parish council and asked if we would repair it.
'The parish council said the fence isn't, as far as we're concerned, our fence. We said we're happy to remove it and take it away if it's unsafe, but will not spend public money to repair it because it's of no benefit. We're quite happy for him to come onto our land and repair the fence. One resident has already done that.'
Are you fighting to keep your neighbourhood safe? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email firstname.lastname@example.org