CONFUSION and anger surrounds the appearance of large fences which have blocked residents from entering fields they have accessed for over 30 years.
Around 10 wooden fences were put up at the back of properties in Adur Avenue, Adelaide Close and Hobart Close last week, with an access route into the fields in Tasman Way also shut-off with metal fencing.
The fields are the site of the proposed controversial West Durrington housing development, where work isdue to start later in the year.
The appearance of the fences is yet another worrying development, say residents, who were also angered earlier in the year by “private” signs being put up on the land.
Dog walker Sue Davis, 51, noticed the fences while walking her dog, Max –which she has enjoyed doing for many years.
She said: “It’s extremely petty. We are not doing any harm here.
“A lot of people who walk dogs here find it a bit odd that they are going to all this trouble.”
Mrs Davis said she was not certain who had put the fences up but felt it was an “aggressive” act to dissuade residents and other regular dog walkers from using the fields.
She said: “We don’t understand why they have done this now as they are going to build on this soon.
“When it becomes a building site, we obviously won’t go on the land.”
But until then, Mrs Davis expects the land will continue to be used.
She said: “I don’t think it will stop people walking here as they have done so for years.
“Someone has already cut through the fence on Tasman Way.”
Residents whose properties were affected by the fences were not willing to be identified by the Herald.
But there was a unanimous feeling the fences were “petty and a step too far”.
They explained many of them had put in gates, with the permission of the previous farmer, 30 years ago, as a lot of social events were held on the fields.
All properties with gates were sent letters by land owner, Clement Somerset, as far back as 2011.
In them, he asked for the gates to be secured.
Most complied and did not use them again, but still found the fences had been put up to block their gates.
Mr Somerset has denied he was responsible for the fences, but supported the move.
He said: “They were put there by the proposed developers.
“I support this, as there is no public right of way on the land.”
The Durrington Consoritium, comprising Persimmon Homes, Heron Homes and Taylor Wimpey, were unavailable for comment.
The site, just north of Tesco superstore, had an initial application for more than 875 properties rejected.
But a revised application for a reduced number of 700 properties, including 200 specifically designated affordable housing, was approved.
Residents led a campaign against the plan, believing the site was unsuitable for several reasons.