Gates to £750,000 home stay open while warring neighbours and council await outcome of court hearing over highway issue
- Credit: Archant
A farmer is at loggerheads with his neighbour who blocked a public highway by erecting gates to his £750,000 country home.
The fall-out has seen county council officials broker a temporary ‘peace’ deal that will see the gates remain open until magistrates settle the issue.
Andrew Hollis and partner Polly, say that the gates to Ransonmoor Grange at the end of Grange Road, March, denies them access to their land within the perimeter of the house.
They also claim motorists can no longer use the road that extends beyond the gates as a turning area.
He said: “The council has in error unlawfully and discriminately provided permission to my neighbour to stop up the highway by erecting an electric gate”.
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Highways officer Amanda Hill has written to Dr Staples accepting that when she approved gates “I did so incorrectly”. She said: “The information I had at the time was incorrect and I saw no reason for you not to install the gates. Unfortunately, our mapping system is showing the area as highway to the west of the gate.”
A county council spokesperson said: “We made an error. At the time, we should have also completed a process called ‘stopping up the highway’ for the road beyond the gate.
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“This is the method for changing a public highway to private as it only provides access to a single house. We have now started this process and it started before we received a request to remove the gates from Mr Hollis.”
The council said it would be for magistrates to decide if the highways can be stopped up and that Mr Hollis will be consulted.
“In the meantime, we have agreed with the landowner to keep the gates open, so it does not cause an obstruction,” said the spokesman.
Dr Staples said: “This situation is being dealt with by my solicitors in the hope of reaching an acceptable outcome for both parties.
“The dispute has proved extremely stressful. We desire a speedy resolution to the months of harassment myself and my family have suffered due to the actions of Mr Hollis.”
Mr Hollis said that he advised that a gate was not acceptable and that “the council has in error unlawfully and discriminately provided permission to stop up the highway.”