A grandmother says she is “at her wits end” after missing fence panels created a shortcut through her garden.
Sandra Larsen from Boughton Monchelsea, claims Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) has refused to take responsibility for the remaining two panels, despite them previously fixing five.
In March last year, a section of the fence between cul-de-sacs Foster Clarke Drive and Bodkins Close blew down in a storm.
“We spoke to our neighbours and one of them told us they had tried to contact the council,” the 80-year-old said.
“It was confirmed the house next door to us was owned by MBC, so we assumed that they looked after the fence.”
Nine months later, a contractor repaired five of the panels, but left two missing at the front of her home.
Sandra said: “The important ones really are those two, because they are the most visible.
“We need the differentiation between the two roads and the cul-de-sacs.”
The retiree has lived at the property with her husband Poul for more than 15 years.
She says the small walkthrough leads onto an private alleyway, which is used to access a number of back gardens.
Sandra claims the council has told them that they aren’t responsible for the remaining two panels.
“They couldn’t tell us who exactly is responsible for them, they just said it wasn’t them,” she explained.
“The council basically left it with us to prove otherwise and to work it out between us and our neighbours.
“We are at our wits’ end. Is it legal or even logical to only be responsible for three-quarters of a fence?”
The gap, which is approximately a metre wide, is now regularly being used as a shortcut by residents, despite it being private land.
It has now become a daily occurrence for the couple, who have resulted in moving their bins and putting up barriers to deter walkers.
She added: “We did question if we should just pay up – but it is the principle of it.
“Some of our fence posts on the other side of the garden blew down and we had to replace those. It cost us £1,000.
“We are pensioners on a restricted income. We simply cannot afford this, nor is it fair that we should be expected to do this.”
Sarah also contacted her local councillor, Dan Wilkinson, who looked into the issue.
“He has really stuck with it,” she said.
“Cllr Wilkinson actually came round and took photos and videos – then he reported it back to the council.
“We were talking with him back and forth, until he suggested that I should try the council complaints procedure, but it is a drawn out process.”
So far the pair have waited 16 months for the remaining section of fence to be fixed.
Sandra says she is worried about the devaluation of her home and lack of security.
“We moved into Foster Clarke Drive because it was in a quiet cul-de-sac,” she explained.
“This is no longer the case – not only is it not a cul-de-sac, it’s not quiet anymore because it has become a busy shortcut between the two streets.
“Before we have felt quite safe having parcels delivered on the doorstep and occasionally we might forget to close a window.
“Now we are paranoid about making sure we have because someone might walk past.”
A spokesman for MBC said: “We have reviewed the legal documents in relation to the ownership and designated boundaries.
“We are satisfied that we have responded to and replaced the fence panels which fall under the council’s responsibility.
“MBC is not in a position to say who owns the fence panels, but if residents have additional information, we will be happy to review the documents.”
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