A Queenstown granny feels marooned in her own home after a bitter boundary dispute with a neighbour.
Betty Ramsay found a thick white diagonal line painted across her Huff Street driveway last Saturday – cutting off the only level access for the 84-year-old with mobility problems.
Neighbour Judy Fotheringham staked her claim to the land – which includes the top of the driveway, part of Ramsay’s prized garden and an incorrectly-placed concrete partition between the two plots – after commissioning a survey.
Ramsay says she feels her neighbour is “being very nasty and petty”.
“It’s upset me. You don’t treat neighbours like that. I’ve lost my garden and access to my car port, so I have to go up the steps now.”
Taxi driver Fotheringham, 54, had the survey done after a separate male neighbour on Ramsay’s plot demolished stairs on his land that Fotheringham used to access her laundry.
The man also put up a 1.8m fence.
Fotheringham says: “We had to pay $1500 to build new steps. So I did a survey to know where my land boundary was and found out that bit was ours.
“I told them about it and next thing you know I have all the neighbours around giving me shit.
“At the moment I’m doing nothing with the land. I might plant some corn. There’s no way of reaching a compromise because they won’t speak to me.”
Ramsay’s daughter Anne Henley – who ironically was Fotheringham’s boss at The Glebe Apartments for six years – says she’s offered $200 per square metre for the land through lawyers after being told about the issue six weeks ago.
“Imagine finding that line. It’s just childish,” Henley, 56, says.
“She’s coming over the concrete fence and tending the garden.
“This is making mum a prisoner in her own home. She feels threatened. It’s an invasion and she’s constantly in tears.”
Ramsay, who uses a walker and a wheelchair, is one of Queenstown’s oldest living locals.
Unrepentent Fotheringham, who has lived in the property for 16 years – one more than Ramsay – says she does not want to sell the land.
“They might extend the fence if I did. I’m not the only owner so we’ll have to wait until the AGM to decide what to do with the land. We might make it into a driveway,” Fotheringham says.
“I’m not worried about upsetting her. She’s been upsetting everyone for years. If anyone played ball and the ball went into her section she’d pinch it quickly. She prided herself on having eight balls at one stage.
“She’s never been a neighbourly neighbour.”
The concrete partition – that’s created the false boundary – was built between the two Huff St properties some 30 years ago.
Fotheringham lives in a block of six apartments, which she owns with another party.
Ramsay retorts: “Never neighbourly? The cheek of her.
“I’ve never had a problem with neighbours. I’ve lots of friends here. I don’t even need meals on wheels because they’re so good to me.”
A neighbour painted a peace sign on the driveway this week.
Another neighbour Jim Shard, who lives in Fotheringham’s block, says: “They need to reach a compromise because they’re both stressed about it. Hopefully they can sit down together and sort it out.”