Wheathampstead dog walker wins fight over access gate

A JUBILANT dog walker is celebrating after proving that the access to her back garden has been in place for over 22 years, despite a developer’s claims it was not legally recognised.

It brings to an end a dispute that began last September when Christine Field, 72, of Butterfield Road in Wheathampstead was informed that the land on which she walked her golden retriever, Chippy, would no longer be accessible from the gate in her back garden.

Hoardings went up close to her back gate and she discovered that there would be a three-metre buffer zone of trees between the old and new properties.

Christine, who had used the back gate to get to the playing fields for over 30 years, was told that the gate had never been legally recognised by Herts County Council or Charles Church.

But Christine rejected this claim and sought advice from a solicitor. She was shown topographical surveys which didn’t seem to show her back gate but persisted anyway and eventually found an aerial photograph from 22 years ago, which clearly pinpointed the back gate.

She said: “With this bit of information, the developers and I were able to come to an agreement. I now have a walkway and there are three homes with gates onto this strip of land.

“My neighbours are delighted, we are very pleased and it’s a message to people that they shouldn’t be intimidated by the big guys. If they want to challenge something which they feel is wrong or unfair, they should go for it.”