Householder's battle to stop gas company laying pipes under passage
- Credit: Liz Coates
A homeowner has shared her upset after a gas company started laying pipes under her private walkway claiming a narrow passageway was actually a street.
Liesel Symonds has been locked in conflict with gas company Cadent for months.
Cadent says it has legal duty to connect homes and has done nothing wrong.
Work under a passageway by her home in Butt Lane, Burgh Castle has already been stopped once but a crew moved in on Tuesday to begin connecting two properties to the mains.
Mrs Symonds says she objects to workers laying pipes under the walkway she owns and added that a £200 payment offered by Cadent was "an insult".
The 41-year-old mum-of-three says she has made around 50 phone calls and spent hundreds on solicitors letters but does not have the means to take it any further.
"Big companies should not be able to treat everyday people like this," she said.
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"Especially at the moment, people are really struggling to make ends meet.
"There's nothing I can do now. I cannot afford to spend £30,000 in court unless I definitely thought I could win."
Mrs Symonds, a pre-school manager, said the saga started in May when the owner of two properties asked if they could use the passage to connect the homes to gas.
She said she wanted to understand the implications and take legal advice.
Apart from the disruption and noise she said having the pipes there could devalue her property. She was also concerned about the effect on her footings and a nearby well, while she remained responsible for the upkeep of the land.
"I do not want it done," she said. "But they are going to do it anyway.
"I do feel that we should get some sort of compensation.
"Some people might think its really petty but it's not when it could affect you in the future."
A Cadent spokesperson said: “As the UK’s largest gas distribution network, we have a legal duty to connect properties to the gas network. We also have a right to lay new connections within certain types of land.
“In carrying out this connection, we have fully complied with our legal duties.
“We are committed to our customers and we will continue to engage regularly with them to alleviate their concerns and minimise any temporary disturbance our necessary works may cause”