Fury as fence built around green space stopping one man trimming hedge

Villagers’ fury after 6ft fence is built around green space that was sold at auction and is stopping one man from trimming his hedgerow – as 600 residents sign petition

  • Highnam residents shocked after giant fence erected around local green space 

A man has been blocked from trimming his own hedgerow by a mysterious six-foot high fence that appeared next to his Gloucestershire village home.

Residents of Highnam, on the outskirts of Gloucester, were furious to find what they thought was a public green space was sold and fenced off.

The villagers are unhappy that the parcel of land between Oakridge and The Range was unexpectedly sold at an auction in London as they thought it belonged to Tewkesbury Borough Council.

Mark McGillion, is among the 600 people who have signed a petition, calling for the fence to be removed, ensure the trees are retained and kept as a green space as it has been for the past 40 years.

His Maidenhall home borders the site and the new fence means he is unable to cut his boundary hedge. ‘If the fence stays up and the space is lost, I would feel enclosed in it,’ Mr McGillion said.

Residents of Highnam, on the outskirts of Gloucester, were furious to find what they thought was a public green space was sold and then had a six-foot tall fence erected around it

Mark McGillion (left, with Highnam Parish Council Chair Charlie Coats) was blocked from trimming his own hedgerow after mysterious fence in Highnam was erected near his home

‘The view we’ve had before would be lost and for me personally it would block access to my hedge and I feel for neighbours who have used this space to walk to the shops. This is part of Highnam’s open space and we’ve been using it as a wildflower planting area. To lose this permanently would be devastating.’

Highnam Parish Council chairman Charlie Coats says nobody knows who now owns the green space, but feels desperately sad to see the fence put up.

He says he has been ‘inundated by calls and emails’ about the issue. And residents are in the process of applying for village green status at the site.

‘The character of Highnam is dictated by small interspersed areas of green space, so we want this nipped in the bud by the borough council and we want village green status from Gloucestershire County Council,’ Cllr Coats said.

‘This could be the thin edge of the wedge where other people might do this to other communities.’

The online petition, which was set up by the parish council, says the land should be protected by a covenant and deed dating back to 1983.

‘We are calling on all residents, wildlife enthusiasts, and Highnam community leaders to sign this petition to get the fence removed, to ensure the trees are retained as they are, and support the application that the land be assigned Village Green Status, ensuring it has protection to continue to be used and enjoyed by all in the village in the future, as it has been for the past 40 years,’ the petition reads.

Residents Highnam, on the outskirts of Gloucester, were furious to find what they thought was a public green space was sold and fenced off

The petition also asks for support from Conservative MP for the Forest of Dean Mark Harper and states that the plot has three large mature trees protected by tree preservation orders.

‘Two of these [trees] have heritage asset value dating back to when the village was just farmland. We fear this is to potentially fell the trees and sell the plot on as a ‘clear open site’ for a profit, as is happening in many parts of the county and country,’ the petition continues.

Mr Harper, posting on his Facebook page, said on December 8: ‘I have been contacted by a number of constituents about the land south of Maidenhall, Highnam.

‘I am aware that a fence has recently been installed and many residents are concerned about the plans for the land.

‘I have contacted Tewkesbury Borough Council and Gloucestershire County Council, to establish some of the facts surrounding the ownership of the land and any potential plans.

‘I am also looking into the details of the Village Green Status application.’

A spokesperson for Tewkesbury Borough Council said: ‘We are aware of the fence that has been put up in Highnam. As this is the subject of a live enforcement investigation, we are unable to comment further at this time.’

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