/Residents locked in legal battle with neighbour who barricaded communal footpath with 4ft trellis

Residents locked in legal battle with neighbour who barricaded communal footpath with 4ft trellis

Residents on a road of Victorian terraces are locked in a bitter legal battle with a neighbour after she barricaded a communal walkway with a garden trellis.   

Police were called last month when Julia Hartley, 53, erected the four-foot tall trellis fence along with a sign which read, ‘Private 14-8’, on Common Road in Evesham, Worcestershire. 

The waist-high lattice blocked a communal path, which runs down the back of the terraced cottages, for 14 residents.  

Many elderly residents prefer using the walkway to avoid going down steep steps at the front of the houses which were built 150 years ago. 

The trellis has now mysteriously been torn down and dumped on the path but ten residents are preparing to go to court to ban any fencing being put up in future.

Police were called last month when Julia Hartley, 53, erected the four-foot tall trellis fence along with a sign which read, 'Private 14-8', on Common Road in Evesham, Worcestershire. Pictured: Residents of Common Road

Police were called last month when Julia Hartley, 53, erected the four-foot tall trellis fence along with a sign which read, 'Private 14-8', on Common Road in Evesham, Worcestershire. Pictured: Residents of Common Road

Police were called last month when Julia Hartley, 53, erected the four-foot tall trellis fence along with a sign which read, ‘Private 14-8’, on Common Road in Evesham, Worcestershire. Pictured: Residents of Common Road 

The waist-high lattice blocked a communal path, which runs down the back of the terraced cottages, for 14 residents

The waist-high lattice blocked a communal path, which runs down the back of the terraced cottages, for 14 residents

The waist-high lattice blocked a communal path, which runs down the back of the terraced cottages, for 14 residents

Joanne Kitchen is one of ten residents to contact a solicitor in a bid to stop Ms Hartley from blocking the walkway again.

Ms Kitchen, 45, 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 around. It is a right of way on all our deeds.

‘It is all getting a bit contentious and it has made things really horrible. 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 (Ms Hartley) tells us she has been here for 30 years so why this is suddenly a problem now I’m not sure.

Many elderly residents prefer using the walkway to avoid going down steep steps at the front of the houses which were built 150 years ago

Many elderly residents prefer using the walkway to avoid going down steep steps at the front of the houses which were built 150 years ago

Many elderly residents prefer using the walkway to avoid going down steep steps at the front of the houses which were built 150 years ago

The trellis has now mysteriously been torn down and dumped on the path but ten residents are preparing to go to court to ban any fencing being put up in future

The trellis has now mysteriously been torn down and dumped on the path but ten residents are preparing to go to court to ban any fencing being put up in future

The trellis has now mysteriously been torn down and dumped on the path but ten residents are preparing to go to court to ban any fencing being put up in future

Joanne Kitchen is one of ten residents to contact a solicitor in a bid to stop Ms Hartley from blocking the walkway again

Joanne Kitchen is one of ten residents to contact a solicitor in a bid to stop Ms Hartley from blocking the walkway again

Joanne Kitchen is one of ten residents to contact a solicitor in a bid to stop Ms Hartley from blocking the walkway again

‘We think she 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.

Ms Kitchen, 45, 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

Ms Kitchen, 45, 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

Ms Kitchen, 45, 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

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'

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'

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.’

Ms Hartley declined to comment. 

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