Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Villagers are outraged after the council replaced a historic dry stone wall with cheap wooden fence (Picture: SWNS)

Residents of a Cotswolds village are furious after a historic dry stone wall was replaced with a wooden fence.

Selsey villagers are fuming about the ‘bodge job’, which reportedly cost £200,000 and took nearly 12 weeks to complete.

Local councillors say Gloucestershire county council promised to rebuild the 150m wall, which needed urgent repair – but they say instead its highways officers removed and replaced the wall without consultation.

Stroud district councillor Steve Hynd said: ‘As well as the aesthetic change, I worry that replacing a traditional dry stone wall with a wooden fence is just a false economy.

Locals say the council removed the historic dry stone wall without consultation (Picture: Cllr Steve Hynd/ SWNS)

‘Cotswold stone walls, when erected by skilled local craftspeople, can last for decades with occasional straightforward maintenance.

‘This wooden fence will need replacing in a few years’ time.

‘The community should have been given an option to fundraise the additional money to get the same wall replaced.

‘We weren’t even given those options as a possibility, people probably would have rallied together and actually done something.

‘My main issue is the lack of communication with the local community, who I know are furious about this.

‘We weren’t told the wall would not be restored to its former standing.

‘I think something that has such tangible aesthetic change to a historic Cotswold village kind of should be consulted on by the community.’

In its place is a ‘cheap-looking’ wooden fence which locals say will need replacing in a few years time (Picture: Cllr Steve Hynd/ SWNS)

Village resident Marisa Godfrey added: ‘A lot of people in the village are angry and disappointed about this.

‘It feels to them like there is one rule for the county council and another for residents.

‘As a local farmer said to us, he would never get away with removing an historic dry stone wall on his land.

‘Dry stone walls are an intrinsic feature of the Cotswold landscape – an ancient craft that has been passed down through generations – and rural residents are rightly proud of the artisanship and heritage that goes into creating them.

‘These beautiful walls define our villages and farms.

‘They take skill to build but we have those skills right here in the Cotswolds and the job should have been done by a skilled local craftsperson.

‘Instead of which, we have this nasty bodge job.’

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A Gloucestershire county council spokesperson said: ‘This wall required urgent repairs costing more than £200,000, which have now been completed.

‘The lower part of the wall retained the road, footway and utility services from collapsing into the fields – so needed replacement.

‘To build the wall to its former height alongside the footway would have doubled the project cost and duration.

‘The livestock-proof wooden post and rail fence is used extensively in rural settings and was designed to be as considerate as possible to the local area while ensuring we use public funds responsibly.

‘We accept that our communication could have been clearer on the details of the plan for this project and we would like to apologise for this and any inconvenience caused during the works.’

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