Neighbours claim 'witch-hunt' from walkers after enclosing their gardens

Tony Travers and Sheila Endresz say they are shocked and overwhelmed by a right of way application.

Tony Travers and Sheila Endresz say they are shocked and overwhelmed by a right of way application after enclosing their gardens. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

Two neighbours have expressed their "shock" at a right of way application two years after getting permission to enclose their gardens.

Landowners Sheila Endresz and Tony Travers applied to change the use of land at 6 and 7 Burdock Close in Downham Market from an open plan garden to enclosed residential garden land in 2019.

The application was refused by councillors at West Norfolk Council, but Mrs Endresz and Mr Travers were successful in their appeal to the planning inspectorate.

Tony Travers and Sheila Endresz say they are shocked and overwhelmed by a right of way application.

Tony Travers and Sheila Endresz say they are shocked and overwhelmed by a right of way application after enclosing their gardens. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

Dog walkers said they have used the land, which is privately owned by the landowners, for years.

The disputed ground, which leads onto London Road, lies to the south of the properties and is adjacent to the highway verge of the A1122.

The disputed ground, which leads onto London Road, lies to the south of the properties.

The disputed ground, which leads onto London Road, lies to the south of the properties and is adjacent to the highway verge of the A1122. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

But the Downham Market neighbours were left "shocked and overwhelmed" by a notice from Downham Market Town Council, two years after the appeal, that said the council had submitted an application to Norfolk County Council for the definitive map and statement for the area be modified by adding the footpath from London Road to Sovereign Way, Trafalgar Industrial Estate.

"We thought it had all settled down", said Mrs Endresz.

The 68-year-old, who moved into her property in February 2019 erected her fence in March the same year, which she said is in her right to do following a seven-year covenant.

Mr Travers, 79, who moved his fence back a few weeks after, said: "These protestors still cannot accept that legal bodies agree it's our land. 

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"Why is it that they can walk all over Downham Market and surrounding areas but they want to walk through our back gardens?"

The disputed ground, which leads onto London Road, lies to the south of the properties.

The disputed ground, which leads onto London Road, lies to the south of the properties and is adjacent to the highway verge of the A1122. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

He said the ongoing situation is causing "stress and harassment" to himself and residents in neighbouring properties.

"There seems to be a witch-hunt for us", he added.

Mrs Endresz said they received "so much abuse" after erecting the fence with some people "threatening and throwing rubbish over the fence."

She said: "One borough councillor called us 'opportunist land grabbers', we did not steal any land, this is our garden.

"Land searches do not come up with anything about right of way and footpaths.

"It makes a mockery of the law. How can they keep on moaning about it?"

Tony Travers garden after enclosing it.

Tony Travers garden after enclosing it. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

Sheila Endresz garden after enclosing.

Sheila Endresz garden after enclosing. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

DMTC and NCC have been contacted for comment.

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