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IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Gran feels fenced-in


MARIA BRADSHAW, [email protected]

IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Gran feels fenced-in

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MILLICENT JONES-LEWIS is proud to have lived on the same spot at Braggs Hill, St Joseph for 78 years.

She has seen many changes – good and bad – throughout that time and puts up with as much as she can.

But now Jones-Lewis, 80, has been unsettled by a decision of her next door neighbour to erect a chain link fence which has partially blocked access to her home.

She can no longer enter or exit through the gate leading to her backyard and she does not know how her 100-pound cylinder gas bottles will be changed since they are enclosed behind the fence which went up two weeks ago.

One of her daughters explained that since 2014, their neighbour of 18 years had been complaining occasionally to them about water running off of Jones-Lewis’ house and settling under his mother’s car.

“It is a driveway which is the entry and exit point for our house,” the daughter said. “It is a driveway with an incline, so there is no way the water can settle under the car. It just runs down as it has been doing for many years.” 

She said every “now and then” the neighbour would “act out” and last year he brought surveyors to survey the property.

“We had no problem with that and then he started to dig up the driveway saying he is making a drain. Last month he dig a little bit more and two weeks ago my mother called me and told me he was putting up poles and then he erected this fence,” she said, pointing to the green chain link fence.

The daughter said she contacted the police who came to the area and “tried to reason” with the neighbour, who she said, insisted that it was his property and he could do what he wanted to do with it.

“The police told us that they called the Town & Country Planning Department and they said he could fence his property but Town Planning is talking broadly; they do not know the underlying factors – that this is a right-of-way access point – and that we have been using it for many, many years,” she said.

“Obviously the fence is a deliberate attempt to disable my mother’s movements.” 

The elderly woman said the situation had unsettled her.

“It got me disturb; I can’t settle my nerves,” she said. “I can’t feel happy. When yuh get a certain age all yuh want to do is be at peace. I ain’t stop him from doing nothing because if he own it he can do what he like on it, but the problem – I not getting out and thing – that is supposed to be my privilege.”

Pointing to her gas bottles, Jones-Lewis said she would have to wait until it is time for them to be changed to see how the delivery men would be able to access them.

After living on the same spot for so many years, Jones-Lewis, who uses a walker, said she was unhappy at what was taking place.

“My father born here, and his father born here. I raise all four of my children on this spot. We never had no problems with any neighbours.”

When asked to comment on the situation, neighbour Barry Reid, who erected the fence and who spoke to us from behind closed doors, said: “I have no comment to make.”

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