RESIDENTS are claiming victory after a campaign to stop land grabbing.
Part of a public green in Elaine Gardens, Lovedean, was fenced off by a family who claimed it for themselves.
A large wooden fence was put up alongside a sign which read ‘No Trespassers’.
This infuriated other residents who had considered it part of the small cul-de-sac since the houses were built 40 years ago.
Now Hampshire County Council’s highways department could take legal action against the family.
Nick Bromley, 40, who led the campaign, lives with his parents opposite, said: ‘My parents are the only people to have lived there since the houses where first built, over 40 years ago.
‘It has a beautiful green grass bank on the corner which kids play on and the property owners in Elaine Gardens love to look at it.
‘Recent developments have seen some property owners in Frogmore Lane start to openly grab land adjacent to their property.
‘This land is one of the only patches of open green land in the area for kids to play on.
‘It isn’t even part of Frogmore Lane but part of Elaine Gardens, as the original plans clearly show, and is regularly maintained by Havant Borough Council.’
Police were called when the fence was first put up last month but could not intervene as it is a civil matter.
That is when Mr Bromley contacted the local authority.
Councillor Mike Cheshire, leader of Havant Borough Council, stepped in and now action is being taken. He said: ‘Residents are the eyes and ears of the borough.
‘Our job is to respond accordingly and if there’s something that’s not right we will do our best to put it right.
‘I’m very pleased that on this particular occasion we managed to find out who the owner of the land was and make it quite clear people can’t just grab some land.
‘It was pretty cheeky.’
In a letter to Mr Bromley, Andrew Wood, from Hampshire Highways, said the original adoption records had been checked and he has confirmed the area of grass enclosed by the fence is owned by the county council.
He added: ‘Under the circumstances I am now satisfied that the fence has been erected in contravention to highway law (Highway Act 1980).
‘This matter will now be passed to the county council’s legal practice for service of a legal notice to remove the fence from the highway.’
Mr Bromley, a civil servant, said he was ‘over the moon’ with the results and added: ‘I just wish it hadn’t come to this as it’s led to a lot of ill-feeling.’
The homeowners had been contacted.