A homeowner at war with furious locals for parking his Land Rover on a 12th century church path says he is doing so to try and stop the ‘constant’ stream of cars damaging his house.
Peter Escreet, who lives on Swinegate in Grantham, Lincolnshire, has stationed his wide car in the middle of a pathway to St Wulfram’s Church, much to the ire of villagers.
He said that he had no issue with the church holding functions and events, but traffic frequently going past was resulting in ‘ongoing damage’ to both his home and the path itself.
He said: ‘The house got hit, a car rolled over the step and cracked it, hit the plant pot, hit the post, hit the side of the wall, hit the corner of the walls.
Peter Escreet, who lives on Swinegate in Grantham, Lincolnshire, has stationed his wide car in the middle of a pathway to St Wulfram’s Church, much to the ire of villagers
He said that he had no issue with the church holding functions and events, but traffic frequently going past was resulting in ‘ongoing damage’ to both his home and the path itself
‘There’s just been ongoing damage to the house and flagstones. I’ve paid to have three of them repaired and they cost £300 each.’
Mr Escreet, 39, said the incident that sparked it was a van driver allegedly lying to him over having not just hit his home – despite CCTV evidence and the scratches on his van.
He bought the home back in 2015 and said that he was told that there was no vehicular access for the public, though he was allowed to park out front in order to make deliveries and drop-offs.
He says that parking on the path is not in violation of the Highway Code, though driving on the path is.
He added: ‘We don’t park here. We have parked here to block people’s access because we don’t think anybody should be driving up here.’
A spokesman for the church, which dates back to the 12th century, said that while it could understand Mr Escreet’s concerns, access to the church was still important.
He said: ‘A church has been on this site for over a thousand years and through its long history its points of access have developed with it.
‘St Wulfram’s is a living breathing building which at the centre of the community in Grantham offers lots of opportunities for people to come and celebrate our common life together.
‘It is important that deliveries, contractors and disabled visitors can get as close to the front door as possible.’
Father Stuart Craddock told MailOnline: ‘It’s regrettable that Mr Escreet has suffered damage to his house.
‘We tell anyone who uses the road to drive carefully and slowly with their hazard lights on, particularly as it is used by pedestrians as well.
‘We are quite happy to have a sit down and have a frank conversation to forge a way forward.
‘We need to gain our legal right to access back. We have got significant work happening on the church in the new year.’
A spokesman for the church, which dates back to the 12th century, said that while it could understand Mr Escreet’s concerns, access to the church was still important
Kevin Tilley, owner of removal company Tilley’s, was unable to deliver a Christmas tree to the church as a result of Mr Escreet’s parking
However, Mr Escreet says his parking his car there does not hinder people from getting to the church.
He said: ‘I got a tape measure and measured the gap between the car and the wall, and it was fine. I’ve watched two mobility scooters go side-by-side past the car – there’s no problem.’
He added: ‘Even with the Christmas tree parade, they got all the trees in and could get past. Yesterday, with the car there, they got all of them out in a day.’
Since the ordeal began, the 39-year-old said he has been on the receiving end of verbal abuse by locals.
Video footage, recorded by Mr Escreet from his first-floor window, shows a man shouting and swearing at him through his front door.
He said: ‘Someone came to the house the other day, quite angry, and I told him that I agreed with him that it should not be used as a pathway and he looked quite blank. You never know who’s going to come and kick off at you.’
He continued: ‘I didn’t think it would come to this. It’s been blown so badly out of proportion. It’s a footpath – you can’t drive on it.’
Looking ahead, Mr Escreet said he has offered to pay for an electric bollard, costed at about £3,000, to be installed.
He said: ‘I’ve said that if we can get the bollard put in, we’ll donate a wheelchair to the church. We are trying to be as nice as possible about this.’
Cllr Richard Davies, Executive member for Highways at Lincolnshire County Council said: ‘I have spoken with Father Stuart and I have sent Mr Escreet an email.
‘I have explained that I am very happy to sit down with both parties for an open conversation where we can hopefully find a solution.
‘I hope that we will be able to do this soon and resolve the matter in a way that everyone can live with.’