Six foot fence erected around Brownhills home

It may not be the Berlin Wall but a 6ft fence erected in front of a couple’s Victorian home has spawned its own dispute between neighbours.

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Wendy Collins who lives at Mill House, is unable to use her front door or get her car out after a fence was put around her house

Wendy and Paul Collins say they watched in a mixture of disbelief and horror as builders set to work outside their detached home in Mill Road, Brownhills with no warning last Friday.

Mrs Collins asked them to stop what they were doing but was told: ‘We’ve got the paperwork.’

Six hours later all the couple could see from their front room window was a slab of wooden panelling after the fencing was installed blocking their way out.

Although they can open their wrought-iron garden gate, they cannot actually walk through it.

They can sit in their yellow saloon car, currently parked in the driveway, but they cannot actually drive it anywhere.

Mrs Collins, a retired teacher, said: “We’re like prisoners in our own home, we’ve been barricaded in. It’s ridiculous and very frustrating.

“Obviously we can still get in and out via the back door but that’s not the point.”

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The fence had been built on land owned by Sadlers Mill Ltd, a private company set up by the owners of a block of flats adjacent to the couple’s property.

The owners of the apartments are all shareholders in the company.

Mrs Collins says she has had several requests from the management company to tidy up her home and garden but says she is no longer physically manage the work.

“They tried to bully us into cleaning up the front - and this is the final straw. This is a Victorian house, it was built in 1865, it’s never going to be a show home,” she said.

But Michael Nicholls, a director of Sadler Mills, who lives in one of the flats, claimed that the state of the Collins’ house was depreciating the value of their apartment.

He said that pre-cast had fallen from the walls, the guttering was hanging off and part of their garden wall had been deliberately knocked down.

Mr Collins added: “It’s a sad situation. We’ve been reasonable from the outset, we even offered to pay for the garden wall to be rebuilt as long as they signed it over to us but we heard nothing. In the end we were forced to take the action we did.”

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Wendy is having to use ladders to get out of her front garden

Mr and Mrs Collins’ home, Mill House, fronts onto a L-shaped car park owned by the residents.

Two years ago the couple took up an offer by Sadlers Mill to rent two parking spaces for £20 a month. But the two sides fell out when the Collins’ demolished part of their front wall and used it as an access through the car park.

Mr Nicholls said: “It was unsightly and also trespassing on our land. Mr and Mrs Collins used it for a third car but if they’d asked us we would have given them another parking space.

“We couldn’t understand why they did it. It seems we give them an inch and they take a mile.

“In fairness, they have repaired the guttering and tidied up the pre-cast but our main bug-bear has always been the broken wall.”

The residents sent a solicitors letter to the couple in July outlining their intention to build a wall around the property after August 15.

Mr Nicholls said: “We left it for another month after that which was ample warning for them to reach an 11th hour agreement with us or at least give them time to move their car.”

After the wall went up on Friday, he said Mrs Collins and her son and daughter blocked the entrance to the car park for five hours, stopping residents coming in or out.

He added: “The residents were only allowed in after the Collins’ put their case to us. The decision to put the wall up was a majority vote and both the council and the police have checked out paperwork and said we had done everything by the book.

“We have tried to be amicable and neighbourly but Mr and Mrs Collins would accept no compromise. It’s a pure shame.”

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Comments for: "Six foot fence erected around Brownhills home"

JJ

So she's decided to create an extra driveway accessed through someone else's property without permission. They warn her there going to put the fence up. She's ignored the warnings and so they built the fence blocking her car in. Sounds like she only got herself to blame.

Crell

I think there's a lot more to this than we're being told here.

Stanna

Six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Mr & Mrs Collins should not have ignored the solicitors letters, but as her front gate has obviously been there well before the flats were built, it could be the starting point of any legal reprisal. Also by blocking the front exit it could be seen as a hazard for escaping a fire. Had Mr & Mrs Collins built a wall on their property blocking a fire exit from the flats I'm sure local fire regulators would not have taken long to have them tear it down.

BBLoony

The old flour mill was built around the same time as Mill House, the owners of the old mill lived in the house. The mill was converted into flats in the 80s.

Stanna

Thanks for the info - so the conversion was done in the 80's. The front gate would have been a fixture well before planning permission was given for the change of use for the mill. This could be the starting point for the legal argument.

JJ

Well she could argue for access to the gate as this was a pre existing access point.

She's got no change of getting anywhere regarding the drive though. The scenario would be the same as someone deciding they want a drive in there back garden. Taking the fences up and driving across their neighbours lawn.

Stanna

Reply to JJ

I had a border dispute with a neighbour some 35 years ago over. In my case because the original house owner had died and left it to three relatives it cancelled the covenant on the property. They did not have a legal leg to stand on over the fence between our properties.

This home owner could get a solicitor to check the covenant concerning both the house and the original mill. If by carrying out the flat conversions on the mill has effected the original covenant details this fence could be breaking the law. It would however take a solicitor to sort it.

jimbo74

"This is a Victorian house, it was built in 1865, it’s never going to be a show home"

Why is that? Because you treat it like a dump?

Jackett the Hat

Can't physically do the work anymore but can climb up ladders and over walls to get out the garden.

She'll be able to relax soon though........in one of the Jeremey Kyle armchairs.

PWolf

I thought the same initially Jackett (unable to clean up but can climb ladders) but I thought it a little harsh but put that...

However, if you look on googlemaps, the development and detached house appear to be at the Sadler Road junction with Mill Road. It looks very much like Mrs Collins' detached house has another perfectly adequate driveway and entrance onto the main road(!?).

Woody65

Absolutely right.

This lady appears to want two entrances. I think they should have let her move the car before putting the fence up, but apart from that, she should be pleased she's got a nice boundary fence around her property. Maybe now she will get her family to tidy up the house and garden. Mind you, I wouldn't be surprised if she knocks the wall down she is climbing over in the picture!

BBLoony

It took them six hours to put the fence up and they sat and watched them , they had plenty of time to move the car. The car isn't even parked on their drive its parked on rough grass. They have a large concrete drive with iron gates on that's just off saddler rd , that's where they normally park the car .

the dog

Now it all becomes clear, why this woman stood for councilor in Walsall, it was for her own gain and not that of the people, I for one are glad she did not get elected.

repeat3r

I haven't read the article because 1 OBVIOUS workaround is to slide the the panels out to gain access while you sort out getting the posts removed .

Simples!!

charlie.bear.5836

Shame they couldn't fence around the whole town.

Wolfmaster2000

Look at the state of the place. What a scutter!

She should be evicted from the house and forced to live in a kennel, the dog.