‘Like the Berlin Wall’ Fury over fence blocking villagers from park

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A woman has compared a fence stopping her from accessing her local park to the “Berlin Wall”.

Erected in November, the fence surrounds a huge ditch dug by builders to make space for a water culvert.

However, four months later, there is no sign of a culvert, and the fencing blocking Field Lane recreation ground in Chellaston, Derby, remains.

If locals living on the Boulton Moor estate wish to access the rec directly, they have to walk an extra 20 minutes to get there.

Adele Atkinson lives just a stone’s throw from the park but has resorted to driving around to another entrance to walk her dogs in the evening.

She told Derbyshire Live: “It’s driving me potty.

“Normally, I can come home from work, get the dogs out and we’re straight onto the rec.

“It’s a social thing and people know each other and the dogs know each other. That’s all gone.

“Some people can use the rec and the rest of us have to use this patch. It’s like the Berlin Wall.”

Construction work on the Bellway Homes development, called “The Meadows”, began in September last year.

The 245-home estate will be based off Snelsmoor Lane, between Chellaston Park and Field Lane recreation ground.

Fencing was put up on Field Lane rec in November along with a yellow warning sign, advising locals that access to Boulton Moor from the rec and vice versa would not be possible from the week commencing November 18.

The work to dig out the ditch did not take place, however, until December, and was completed, with vehicles having left the site, by December 16.

But the culvert still hasn’t been installed and the site has been left untouched since.

Bellway Homes says that the scheduled timeline of work has been kiboshed by an “industry shortage of materials.”

Adele said: “Why don’t they just fill it in again (if they don’t have the materials?) It’ll take them two minutes to do. I don’t know what the reason is for doing nothing?”

She also explains that since the evenings have begun to get lighter, children, for whom the rec is a popular leisure spot, have resorted to scaling the fences and crossing the ditch to avoid having to walk around.

In the photograph, a fence panel can be seen strewn on the grass in the background after it’s been knocked down in frustration.

Adele says that Bellway has resorted to chaining the fence to the floor to stop people from vandalising it.

Grassroots football matches still take place on the rec despite the nearby work, and fence panels are removed on Saturday and Sunday mornings to allow for stray balls to be fetched when they go into the ditch.

Last weekend, a pair of referees arrived for their first match in a while at their usual entrance to the park and got all the way to the ditch before they realised it was closed.

The yellow notice at the fence advises locals that once the ditch is sorted out, a “new, formal crossing” is to be installed, possibly in the form of a bridge, to make it easier for locals to get over.

“It doesn’t do mine or a lot of people’s mental health any good,” said Adele.

“People need more exercise, not less, but are being forced to jump in the car and drive around.

“Not everybody can afford to do that and not even everyone has a car.

“There’s a big community of elderly people who use their morning dog walk on the rec as a social event. But they can’t now.”

A Bellway spokesperson said: “Bellway is upgrading an offsite drainage channel next to the Field Lane playing field under the planning consent for The Meadows. This is necessary to ensure the onsite drainage functions correctly.

“The area has been fenced off to ensure the safety of residents and the wider public.

“We have experienced some delays in receiving materials to complete the work due to ongoing shortages in the industry.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this causes and will ensure the work is completed as soon as possible.”

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