Feeling fenced in by rail company

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

Marion Barnard objects to the fence

Marion Barnard objects to the fence

HOME-owners have objected to a rail company putting up a security barrier between their back gardens and the railway line. Residents of Beech Avenue, Radlett, say the six-foot-tall fence has caused the destruction of trees in their gardens, prevents them

HOME-owners have objected to a rail company putting up a security barrier between their back gardens and the railway line.

Residents of Beech Avenue, Radlett, say the six-foot-tall fence has caused the destruction of trees in their gardens, prevents them from using the land behind their houses and does not even stop people getting onto the railway line.

Some of them have taken legal action because the fence was built over their property boundaries by up to four feet.

Rail company Network Rail began building the fence last spring to stop people trespassing on the tracks but did not give residents any prior warning.

Marion Barnard, one of the Beech Avenue residents, said workers ripped out their own low chain link fence at the bottom of their garden and put up the tall solid steel panels with barbs on top.

Two trees were chopped down and their once pleasant view of vegetation was replaced by the grey metal fence that she says looks like Alcatraz.

Mrs Barnard, an administrator, said the most absurd thing was that a gap in the fencing had been left where it crossed the stream at the bottom of their garden.

As a result children had easy access to the railway line since all the bushes that originally prevented access had been chopped down.

She maintained that Network Rail had not given them any proof that they owned the land on which the fence was built and they wanted to see it taken down.

A spokesman for Network Rail said they were worried the boundary between residents' gardens and the railway was not clear and there was nothing to stop a child or pet from getting onto the tracks.

He explained that they needed to ensure that residents did not unwittingly encroach onto the railway land by building structures like garden sheds on it.

He admitted that a mistake in their mapping system meant parts of the fence were put up within some of the residents' properties but it had subsequently been rebuilt around their boundaries.

And he added that they had checked with the Land Registry to make sure Network Rail owned the land.

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