'David vs Goliath' standoff between Network Rail and the homeowners told to 'give up' their gardens: Locals refuse to surrender their backyards to two-year track upgrade - as operator threatens 'enforcement action'

Huddersfield residents are demanding £10,000 for losing use of their gardensLocals will see a chunk of their space cut away completely by the constructionNetwork Rail has warned residents if necessary it will take 'enforcement action'

Angry residents are demanding £10,000 compensation from Network Rail for losing the use of their gardens during a two-year track upgrade scheme.

Homes in Glenfield Avenue, Huddersfield, have been ordered to allow workers access to their back gardens overlooking the main Transpennine railway line.

Not only will the work cause dust and noise but the residents will see a chunk of their gardens cut away completely by the construction work before being reinstated at a later date.

Householders in 14 terraced houses have signed a petition calling for workers to stay out of their gardens unless a payment of £10,000 can be agreed.

But with no agreement in place both parties are refusing to give ground.

Angry Huddersfield residents including Nigel Travers (pictured), 62, are demanding £10,000 compensation from Network Rail for losing the use of their gardens during a two-year track upgrade scheme

Angry Huddersfield residents including Nigel Travers (pictured), 62, are demanding £10,000 compensation from Network Rail for losing the use of their gardens during a two-year track upgrade scheme

Householders in 14 terraced houses on Glenfield Avenue have signed a petition calling for workers to stay out of their gardens unless a payment can be agreed

Householders in 14 terraced houses on Glenfield Avenue have signed a petition calling for workers to stay out of their gardens unless a payment can be agreed

Birdseye image shows the areas which are impacted by Network Rail's track upgrade scheme

Birdseye image shows the areas which are impacted by Network Rail's track upgrade scheme

An incident on April 30 saw a tree felling team working for Network Rail forced to leave one garden amid protests from local residents.

Now Network Rail has warned residents in writing that workers have the legal right to enter gardens and if necessary it will take 'enforcement action', the cost of which will be charged to the residents.

Under the scheme, which doubles the number of tracks from two to four, the homes will temporarily lose about a third of their long gardens - the bottom 40ft (12 metres).

Terry Binns, 69, a retired water worker, has lived there for 40 years and planted many flowers and fruit trees. The ex-council house backs on to the railway line, situated down banking 30ft below.

The section of garden he is being forced to give up has been marked by blue Network Rail flags.

Mr Binns said: 'I've already dug out all my trees and roses and given them away in preparation because I couldn't bear to lose them.

'They were supposed to start the work and build a fence in February this year but it appears they're already running behind.

'They have taken away all the trees beyond my own fence so we've already lost the peace in our garden because we can hear the trains more. It's already a nightmare and it hasn't even started yet.

'We are starting to get angry over this because there has been no real communication about what's going on.'

The gardens overlook the Transpennine railway, which the ex-council houses back onto via a 30ft banking

In a letter to residents dated May 19, Network Rail warned that workers have the legal right to enter gardens and if necessary it will take 'enforcement action', the cost of which will be charged to the residents

Under the scheme, which doubles the number of tracks from two to four, the homes (pictured) will temporarily lose about a third of their long gardens - the bottom 40ft

Under the scheme, which doubles the number of tracks from two to four, the homes (pictured) will temporarily lose about a third of their long gardens - the bottom 40ft

Terry Binns, 69, a retired water worker, has lived there for 40 years and planted many flowers and fruit trees

Terry Binns, 69, a retired water worker, has lived there for 40 years and planted many flowers and fruit trees

The section of garden Mr Binns is being forced to give up has been marked by blue Network Rail flags

The section of garden Mr Binns is being forced to give up has been marked by blue Network Rail flags

Mr Binns, a married grandfather, added: 'This whole process has been very threatening - we first received a compulsory purchase order through the door with no explanation at all about what it meant. It was really quite scary.

'It turns out they have the legal right to take away our land for the duration of the work.

'They had a meeting with us after that and told us what they were planning to do. They are going to dig out all of the banking and enforce our land with concrete before building it all back up again.

'I understand that they need to update the line and station but it's not been handled very well and with no regard to the wildlife at all. We used to have foxes and badgers around here - not anymore.'

Mr Binns said compensation remains unsolved, but he commented: 'How do you put a price on spending time with your family and tending to a garden you love?

'Nobody is going to be spending time in the garden with the amount of noise and dust that the diggers are going to create.'

HGV driver Nigel Travers, 62, has lived in his property with his wife for over 30 years.

He said: 'My wife has a stressful job so she likes her peace in the garden and now this will be gone for the next two years. Even simple things like hanging out your washing is going to be impossible.

'This whole process doesn't seem to have taken into account that there are real humans here with lives and freedoms and there is wildlife and there has been no care taken to take any of that into account. For over two years we will be living with disruption and dust.'

Adding: 'Somebody else has said that the decision on compensation will happen at the end but we don't want to work like that. We want them to listen to us and consider what we will be going through for years.'

Gareth Hope, Sponsor for Transpennine Route Upgrade, said the upgrade work involves the strengthening of embankments on either side of the track and access to 'third party land'

Gareth Hope, Sponsor for Transpennine Route Upgrade, said the upgrade work involves the strengthening of embankments on either side of the track and access to 'third party land'

Not only will the work cause dust and noise but the residents will see a chunk of their gardens cut away completely by the construction work before being reinstated at a later date

Not only will the work cause dust and noise but the residents will see a chunk of their gardens cut away completely by the construction work before being reinstated at a later date

Another resident Pavol Cvanciger, 40, who lives with his partner and daughter, aged seven, said: 'They need to take more care to keep everybody happy instead of being heavy-handed and storming in, because they have a legal right to do what they want.

'I get the impression they do not care about us at all. I want to see and know what's going on. We have already stopped going into the part of the garden we will lose, that was where all my daughter's play toys were and we've had to move it all in preparation. A bit of respect would be nice.'

In a letter to residents dated May 19, Network Rail warned residents about stopping workers entering gardens.

It stated: 'If access is again impeded, then Network Rail would be forced to exercise its powers under the Order to gain access through the means of enforcement, the cost of which would be deducted from any claim for compensation you may have.

'These works are a vital part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade Project and must be allowed to continue without further disruption. As you will be aware, under the Order, affected parties are entitled to compensation if they have a legal interest in the land to compensate the parties for their losses.

'However, this must be evidenced and proven as well as being equivalent to the loss incurred. We are keen to discuss this with you to arrive at a mutually agreeable and evidenced compensation figure.'

Gareth Hope, Sponsor for Transpennine Route Upgrade, said the upgrade work involves the strengthening of embankments on either side of the track and access to 'third party land'.

'As a publicly funded organisation, Network Rail has the responsibility of managing taxpayers' money carefully. We are currently in conversations with landowners to discuss any claims that they may have, ensuring that they receive adequate compensation, that will be assessed in line with the established Compensation Code.'

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