Reflections on Woodbury's 'Berlin Wall'

PUBLISHED: 14:04 05 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:32 10 June 2010

A PENSIONER caught up in a row more than 20 years ago over Woodbury s equivalent of the Berlin Wall has recalled the controversy it caused in the village. Ninety-year-old Bob Miller reminisced about the time residents built an 8ft wall to block off a path

A PENSIONER caught up in a row more than 20 years ago over Woodbury's equivalent of the Berlin Wall has recalled the controversy it caused in the village.

Ninety-year-old Bob Miller reminisced about the time residents built an 8ft wall to block off a path, used as a short cut between the Golden Heart estate and a main road.

The wall was put up on a path in the 1980s near the side of his property, Thorns Cottage.

Bob, speaking to the Journal as part of a nostalgia series, said: "I remember when some swings were put up in the green for kids to play on.

"When the properties on Fulford Way were built, there was a way through to the houses. "Children would run down and straight out onto the road - it was dangerous. They often failed to look up and down so we built a wall - known as the Berlin wall.

"It caused so much controversy - there were articles in the paper all the time."

Bob's wife, Nora, said they never got planning permission for the building of the wall - it was just put as an urgent safeguard for children's safety.

The footpath which it was built on, also became the subject of debate in the village and at local council meetings with doubt cast over the issue of its ownership.

People struggled to ascertain whether it was privately-owned or for public use.

Such was the sense of anger about the wall, councillors at one Woodbury parish council meeting decided to seek legal advice on how it would stand if it were to be demolished.

Devon County Council's amenities and countryside committee, who were asked to look into the matter at the time, decided to take no action.

The wall, visible from Bob's back garden, still stands today.

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