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Dispute over Dereham footpath fence

PUBLISHED: 07:12 14 January 2016

District councillor Alison Webb is unhappy about the fence Orbit Homes has erected on Cherry Lane, Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

District councillor Alison Webb is unhappy about the fence Orbit Homes has erected on Cherry Lane, Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant

It is a well used footpath, particularly popular with dog walkers, but people who have enjoyed a stroll along Cherry Lane in Dereham say their recreation has been ruined by fencing that has been erected by a developer.

District councillor Alison Webb is unhappy about the fence Orbit Homes has erected on Cherry Lane, Dereham. Picture: Ian BurtDistrict councillor Alison Webb is unhappy about the fence Orbit Homes has erected on Cherry Lane, Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Orbit Homes, who bought the land off Cherry Lane and Greenfields Road and have outline planning permission to build 220 homes, erected the metal fencing down each side of the path, a public right of way. It is currently carrying out soil testing on the site.

But in places it reduces the width to as little as two metres which leaves walkers feeling uncomfortable when passing people coming the other way.

And despite repeated calls for them to move the fence back to give a wider path they have refused to do so.

Now the town council is stepping in and at a meeting on Tuesday decided to write a strongly-worded letter to the developer.

District councillor Alison Webb said people were very unhappy about it.

“As soon as they put the fence up I was getting complaints because of how narrow it has made the path,” she said.

“Lots of walkers feel very vulnerable down there - not because the fence stops people going on the path but because if someone is coming the other way it is difficult to pass.

“Orbit hasn’t any broken any rules but you would think in the circumstances they would want to keep people on their side but they have refused to do anything which is a great shame.

“It could be easily resolved and its a shame that they can’t just put it nearer the hedge and everyone would be happy.”

A spokesman for Orbit Homes said the fence was erected to protect users and there was no obstruction to the path.

Planning manager Ellie Smith said: “The Heras-type fencing we have used is see-through and not ply boarded hoardings, which ensures visibility of the pathway.

“The health and safety of residents is of the utmost importance to us, and this is always the case where we have live development sites.

“This is the reason that fencing between Cherry Lane and Hall Lane has been put up – to protect passers-by from any potential hazards. This is part of our legal obligations as a developer.

“Appreciating the pathway is widely used, we will retain it as part of the planned development.”

Do you feel the fencing has made the path too narrow? Email kathryn.cross@archant.co.uk.

6 comments

  • Blimey, two metres is the equivalent of a motorway in rights of way terms. One can well understand the builder's point of view, especially as there is always someone about who thinks they are entitled to a share of the materials lying about. I suspect the Town (Parish) council is full of those who were agin' this development so are using their minimal powers to be as obstructive as possible. They must live pretty empty lives otherwise they'd find something better to do.

    Report this comment

    Green Ink from Tunbridge Wells

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

  • Difficult to pass each other in two meters of space....are they serious…! If they can’t maybe time to leave the pies alone…!

    Report this comment

    Andy.Knight

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

  • I can’t see a problem with it, they still have access to walk down and it’s protecting the public especially children from harm on a building site. So where is the problem..? isn’t this a good thing putting a fence up..!

    Report this comment

    MickB1

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

  • Clearly the developer has to fence the land they are developing, or else they could be held liable for any harm that befell a member of the public using it. They also have to provide access to the public right of way, which as far as I can tell they have. So what's the problem? Sounds like sour grapes to me from people who probably are upset by the development and annoyed they can no longer go onto private land that they never actually had a legal right of access to anyway.

    Report this comment

    Cyril the Canary

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

  • “The health and safety of residents is of the utmost importance to us, and this is always the case where we have live development sites" said the developer's spokesperson. Hmm, some mistake here. Surely she meant to say "The protection of our profits is of the utmost importance to us"?

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

  • If it is the legal minimum width for a fenced footpath then there should be no problem. Landowners are increasingly having to resort to fencing footpaths and other rights of way to prevent trespass and also damage by loose dogs. If there is building going on then the company is right to fence the path-but only if complying with the law on width. I support the preservation of all rights of way but sometimes walkers abuse those rights and think they can do what they like, and places like green lanes-byways open to all traffic created by one man and his horse and cart-are ruined by idiot offroaders and end up being gated to save them. This is a non story.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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