People use my garden as a footpath after council refused to fix my privacy fence – we've already forked out £1,100 | The Sun

A GRANDMOTHER was left fuming when people started using her garden as a footpath after the council refused to fix her privacy fence.

Sandra Larsen, 80, was left devastated after a storm blew down her fence, creating a shortcut through her garden in Maidstone, Kent.

In March last year, a section of the fence between cul-de-sacs Foster Clarke Drive and Bodkins Close was demolished by powerful gusts.

Nine months later, a contractor repaired five of the fence panels, but left two missing at the front of her home.

Sandra says the small walkthrough left behind leads onto an private alleyway, which is used to access a number of back gardens.

The gap, which is approximately a metre wide, is now regularly being used as a shortcut by residents, despite it being private land.

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It has now become a daily occurrence for Sandra and her husband Paul, who have resorted to moving their bins and putting up barriers to deter walkers.

And Sandra says Borough Council (MBC) have refused to take responsibility for the remaining two panels.

Sandra told KentOnline: "The important ones really are those two, because they are the most visible.

“We spoke to our neighbours and one of them told us they had tried to contact the council.

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“We need the differentiation between the two roads and the cul-de-sacs."

And Sandra claims the council has told them that they aren’t responsible for the remaining two panels.

The pensioner said: “They couldn’t tell us who exactly is responsible for them, they just said it wasn’t them.

“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 retiree has lived at the property with Paul for more than 15 years.

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.”

So far the pair have waited 16 months for the remaining section of fence to be fixed.

But Sandra says she is worried about the devaluation of her home and lack of security.

She continued: “We moved into Foster Clarke Drive because it was in a quiet cul-de-sac.

“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.”

Sarah also contacted her local councillor, Dan Wilkinson, who looked into the issue.

She said: “He has really stuck with it. 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.”

An MBC spokesman said: “We have reviewed the legal documents in relation to the ownership and designated boundaries.

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“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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