My neighbours have put up a 6ft fence inches from my door to stop my son playing in the garden – I think it's my land | The Sun

A DAD has blasted his neighbours for putting up a 6ft fence "an arm's length" from his front door to stop his son playing on land they are fighting over.

Paul Kironji Gatu is fuming as the brand new fence has blocked his three-year-old son Malichi from a garden where he kept a trampoline, slide and swings.

The 44-year-old always thought the patch of grass right outside his house belonged to him, as it could only be accessed from his path and his family were the only ones to use it.

But Paul made a gobsmacking discovery when he asked to buy his own house under the Right to Buy scheme – he learnt the council had sold it to his neighbours Ann and Ben Parratt years ago.

Mr and Mrs Parratt never used the land and seemed happy for little Malichi to play on it.

So Paul was astonished when they suddenly cut a hole in their hedge through to the garden and put up the huge fence to keep out the Gatus.

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The feuding families, who live next door to one another on different roads in Thurnby Lodge, Leicestershire, have been locked in a bitter row over the yard.

Despite official records showing the lawn is technically part of the couple's land, Paul claims it was “accidentally” sold to them by the council and should belong to his property.

The 44-year-old from Leicestershire had previously begged the Parratts to consider "holding off” from building the fence while he worked out who owned the side garden.

But he was shocked when the wooden barrier appeared, which he claims blocks light to the house and restricts him getting furniture in and out his front door.

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"I can’t take two steps outside my front door, which is on the side of the house, without hitting the fence," said Paul, "It’s a joke. I can’t understand how this has happened."

The pair has offered to sell the garden back to him, but wanted a pricey £30,000 having purchased it from the local authority.

But Ann said the garden "most definitely" belongs to the property she shares with her husband and two children, saying it was part of the council package when she bought her home.

Paul, who is taking legal action in his fight to claim ‘his’ garden back, said: “I'm devastated that they put up the fence. It is huge big thing and their action is beyond belief.

"The fence is so high and is already on raised ground and is blocking my natural light.

“It’s right in my face and is just an arm’s length from my door.

“There’s no way I could get a piece of furniture or child’s bed through the door now as the fence is blocking my space.

“When I’m standing on the path outside all I can see is this giant fence."

His neighbours used to happily allow his and carer girlfriend Matlida Sowa’s three-year-old son Malichi to use the grass for his trampoline, swing and slides.

Paul said: "But now his play area has been destroyed, it is is all so unfair.

“This is my garden and I will do everything to claim it back!”

He told how the day after The Sun Online published a story about the disputed plot earlier this month, his neighbours put up the fence.

My son can’t use his play stuff as there’s not enough room

He recalled: “They had written a letter asking me to move the play stuff because they were having a fence.

"I asked them to hold off as I had instructed a solicitor and to please wait till the conclusion.

“But no they just went ahead and physically moved all my son’s equipment to the small front garden and just dumped it.

"It’s not big enough to use as a play area like the rectangular side piece.

“They came in through my front gate without my permission, which I found irritating and is trespassing, and left the play pieces and then started putting up the fence.

"They did that by cutting a large gap in their hedge behind the tree and gaining access that way.

“I’m very annoyed about this and my son can’t use his play stuff as there’s not enough room."

Despairing Paul added: "The council made a blunder in the first place, they have really messed up and it's causing me a huge headache.”

He told how the local authority offered to buy back the land from the Parratts for £5,000 but they demanded £30,000 after having it valued.

Instead Paul, who has spent £2,000 maintaining the grass parcel, insists Leicester City Council must buy back the land, which he believes was "mistakenly" sold years ago, to return it to him.

Before the lofty fence went up splitting the neighbours' land and friendship, the Parratts and their children never used the land, which they could only access through Paul's front gate.

But when they learned of the tenant’s plans to buy his home from the council they allegedly decided to fence him off.

He can have it. He's welcome to it.

School receptionist Ann had previously told The Sun Online: “He can have it. He's welcome to it.

"We’ve never even used it but we want paying for it. Legally we own it, as plans and Land Registry prove. We are happy to sell it but we’re not giving it away. That would be foolish.”

Ann, 38 and scaffolder husband Ben, 36, have been left upset by the boundary dispute.

She said: "It’s a shame because we were friends with Paul before all this, but it's caused a lot of arguments.

“We agreed to sell the land back to the council but not for the price they were offering. It was much too low."

Then added: “We understand Paul's frustration and we have some sympathy for him, but now we have told him we are putting up a fence on the piece of grass which steps up from his.

“We would have sold it back and to be honest would have settled on a £20,000 offer which would have helped pay for our new extension but the council said it was too much."

Ben added: “Me and Paul used to be sound, we were all friends until this but he has made it clear he will not give up the land without a fight so we are in dispute.

“We are going to put up a fence, we have given our neighbour notice, and if it is proven down the line that the council has messed up we will happy take the fence down.”

“But as far as we concerned we bought that land with our home.”

A letter from Leicester City Council to the Parratts confirms that the disputed land was sold to them as part of their Right to Buy.

It read: “The land to the side of the house which Mr Gatu wants to buy is legally owned by his neighbours, who bought it back in 2018 before Mr Gatu had become a tenant.

“It has never been part of his tenancy for the purposes of his right to buy, as we explained to his solicitor last year.

“We’ve offered to help Mr Gatu, by having the land valued and offering to buy it back from its current owner, but they declined to sell it.

“Therefore, it is up to Mr Gatu if he wants to proceed with his Right to Buy application.” 

The Parratts have been approached for comment.

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