WDH to seek ‘sensible solution’ for Wakefield couple’s fence crisis

Ian and Hazel Gelder having problems with Wakefield District Housing
Ian and Hazel Gelder having problems with Wakefield District Housing

A couple who had a small section of their driveway confiscated by Wakefield District Housing (WDH) say they have been promised the fencing will be removed and the situation resolved.

Ian and Hazel Gelder were left baffled when the 3m2 area outside their Rufford Street home was re-claimed by WDH, who then fenced it off.

They had been given permission by Wakefield Council in the late 1980s to use the land, but the arrangement was brought to WDH’s attention earlier this year when their neighbour applied to buy his home.

The council told the couple they could have it, if they paid them over £4,000, to which they refused.

They were later invited to offer what they could afford.

After the Express reported on the situation last week, director for WDH, Mick Walsh, visited the couple.

Mr Gelder said: “He could not believe it when he saw it, he was flabbergasted and just said ‘how has it got like this?’

“They have said they are going to take it up again, remove the fencing and share the land between us and the neighbours.

“They’ve also said they’ll compensate me for the fencing I put up.

“I don’t think anyone could believe what they had done.”

Mick Walsh, director of housing, said: “We have visited both Mr and Mrs Gelder and their neighbour to resolve the situation.

“We recognise that the current situation isn’t acceptable to anyone involved, including WDH.

“We will continue to work with both parties to find a sensible solution.”

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh had written to WDH in the summer about the situation and was unhappy with the housing firm’s response who remained defiant in their actions at that time.

She said: “It’s absurd, I wrote to WDH to come to a common sense solution.

“We need a common sense solution to this, the fact that Mrs Gelder has used this land for over 29 years means there has to be some rights.

“There is nothing WDH can do with that land.”