Fence makes residents of Grove Park in Wisbech feel like it's a 'prison'
Residents on a Wisbech park home site have blasted Fenland Council for failing to deal with issues raised by work currently being undertaken on adjacent nursery site.
Grove Park Residents' Association has been fighting for two years to stop what they describe as the "desecration" of a 50-year-old orchard and the habitat it provides for wildlife.
Now the residents of the site off Magazine Lane, have been left angry after the landowners erected a fence just inches from the current boundary fence and in places more than a foot higher than the existing one.
They claim the fence has blocked light and is a blot on the landscape for those residents who back on to the former nursery site.
In a strongly worded letter to the council they describe how some residents "now feel as if they are in a prison" and also point out the fence has been put up with the 'good side' facing the wrong way.
The association writes: "They have erected a fence with the good side towards themselves whereas we were under the impression that the law was that if you erect a fence on your property the good side should face towards the neighbouring property."
They also fear that development of the site could increase flood risk as the land is already 'boggy' in places.
Residents also claim they were told the land was designated nursery and could not be built on when they moved into their park homes, however, they now fear houses will be built despite the fact no planning application has been submitted.
They point to the fact the land has been cleared stating: "In our view, the majority of house builders would not go to the cost of clearing land, erecting fences, unless they had some indication, like outline planning permission, that they would be able to go ahead and complete the build, yet these owners seem to go ahead merrily doing such work."
A council spokesman said: "Regarding land at the rear of Grove Park residential park in Wisbech, we can confirm that the site owners are currently clearing the ground to put up fencing. Planning permission is not required for ground clearance or fencing provided it is under two metres high (and one metre next to the road), and the council has previously advised the residents’ association of this.
"The council has responded promptly when matters have been raised, for example when it secured the removal of cars that were being stored on the land. Residents can also be assured that the council will investigate any issues or concerns they have regarding the site.
"If a planning application is submitted for development of the site, residents will also be sent notification letters so that they will be given the opportunity to comment on the proposal."
But residents feel the council has been far from "fast to act" claiming: "You state you have responded quickly to our concerns. These issues were raised with you over two years ago and whilst after a considerable amount of correspondence and conversations with your staff the vehicles were removed nothing was or has been done by the council in terms of stopping or reducing the removal of vegetation, other than for statements that the owner can clear the land if he so wishes.
"It is only now that you have supplied the information as to where it would have been possible to address our concerns in order to have tried to avoid the desecration of the wild life habitat, but it is too late."