Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Residents in a tiny village in Gloucestershire have waged a war against against a fence that has recently appeared. Highnam residents were shocked to find that what was believed to be a public green space was fenced off.

The villagers are unhappy that the parcel of land between Oakridge and The Range was unexpectedly sold at an auction in London as they thought it belonged to Tewkesbury Borough Council, reported Gloucestershire Live

Around 400 people have signed a petition, calling for the fence to be removed, to ensure the trees are retained and kept as a green space as it has been for the past 40 years.

Among those protesting is Mark McGillion, who has been blocked from trimming his hedgerow by the fence that appeared next to his Gloucestershire village home.  

His Maidenhall home borders the site and the new fence means he is unable to cut his boundary hedge. 

He said: “If the fence stays up and the space is lost, I would feel enclosed in it. The view we’ve had before would be lost and for me personally it would block access to my hedge and I feel for neighbours who have used this space to walk to the shops. 

“This is part of Highnam’s open space and we’ve been using it as a wildflower planting area. To lose this permanently would be devastating.”

Charlie Coats, the chairman of Highnam Parish Council, expresses sadness at the installation of a fence around the green space, emphasizing the uncertainty about its current ownership. 

Cllr Coats reports being overwhelmed by calls and emails on the matter. Furthermore, residents are actively pursuing the application for village green status for the site.

Cllr Coats said: “The character of Highnam is dictated by small interspersed areas of green space, so we want this nipped in the bud by the borough council and we want village green status from Gloucestershire County Council. 

“This could be the thin edge of the wedge where other people might do this to other communities.”

The online petition, which was set up by the parish council, says the land should be protected by a covenant and deed dating back to 1983. The petition reads: “We are calling on all residents, wildlife enthusiasts, and Highnam community leaders to sign this petition to get the fence removed, to ensure the trees are retained as they are, and support the application that the land be assigned Village Green Status, ensuring it has protection to continue to be used and enjoyed by all in the village in the future, as it has been for the past 40 years.”

A spokesperson for Tewkesbury Borough Council said: “We are aware of the fence that has been put up in Highnam. As this is the subject of a live enforcement investigation, we are unable to comment further at this time.”

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