A homeowner has decided to erect a four foot fence on a footpath to stop people eating their fish and chips on his windowsill.
Stephen Williams, 45, put up the picket fence to block off a path and a layby used by customers going into the chip shop next door.
Mr Williams used to run a sweet shop next to Victoria House Fish and Chips but after closing it in 2019 he transformed the building into a house.
The old shop front is being turned into a living room but customers are furious, saying pedestrians must now walk on the road to get to the chip shop.
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‘Sticking a fence up is very petty’
One said: "There’s a layby outside the chippy which people use to park before picking up their food.
"The chip shop has been there for years. Whoever bought the house next door must have known that. Sticking a fence up is very petty.
"He didn’t mind people walking on the path when they were coming into his shop and lining his pockets. Now all of a sudden he wants privacy. It’s unbelievable."
‘We just want some privacy’
Mr Williams built the fence along the original boundary line of his £300,000 semi-detached property in Alnwick, Northumberland, which extends 2ft onto the layby.
He defended the fence, saying he wanted "privacy" now that the shop had been turned into a house.
Mr Williams said: "My wife and I used to run the shop from the building and live in the annex next door but that closed and we are now converting the shop into a living room.
"This means the window faces straight onto the path which is used by people queuing to get fish and chips.
"We’ve had people eating their chips on our windowsill and looking through the window while we are trying to relax. It’s not on.
"We just want some privacy. The land is rightfully ours. We checked with the plans and we are legally entitled to put a fence up.
"Most people wouldn’t want people using their land as a footpath and neither do we. We just want to protect our property."
What the council has said
Council chiefs are now investigating if Mr Williams’ fence is legal.
Cllr Gordon Castle, Alnwick ward member for Northumberland County Council, said: "I’ve raised this with officers at County Hall to the highest level.
"He [Mr Williams] claims to have deeds showing ownership of where his fence now sits.
"I can hardly believe he has gone ahead with this before any resolution with county highways, especially given the impact on pedestrians and children walking to school.
"There are meetings scheduled to find the legal way forward and I’m sorry I can’t do more, but I’ve sent photos and explained to officers that I’m receiving many messages of complaint.
"I can’t get it higher or faster at County Hall, but I won’t let it go."
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