We’ve been sent death threats in a row over our driveway – we’ve spent £100k fighting neighbours | The Sun

A COUPLE say they have been sent a death threat while they are locked in a row with neighbours over their driveway, which has so far cost them £100,000.

There is no suggestion that the couple’s neighbours were responsible.

An image of a bear with a hole pierced through its head was sent to the detached home of Rachel Gilbert Cornish and her husband James, 46 – which is called the Sleeping Bear.

On the reverse of the card – delivered by Royal Mail – blood spatter was drawn in red ink.

The anonymous note was sent amid a long-running boundary battle between the couple and their neighbours on a leafy cul-de-sac in York.

But the card left the couple fearing for their safety and their two children.

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Graphic designer Rachel, 43, said: “We reported it to the police. We don’t know where it came from.

“Whoever sent it seemed to know that we called our house The Sleeping Bear.

“The police came around but they said they could only take action once we had received three threats.

“That surprised us because that means they’ve got another two goes before the police will get involved.

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“It shook us up because we’re so introverted. We keep to ourselves.

“We don’t have any enemies.”

The family have been embroiled in a long-running legal row over a narrow strip of tarmac outside their five-bed detached home.

When the couple bought their home for £735,000 in 2014 they believed that the tiny spur of road was their private driveway.

Deeds for the house appear to show the strip – which leads from the cul-de-sac to a neighbour’s storage shed – is within their land.

The couple started the ball rolling to enclose their front garden with two-metre high gates, only for the council to claim the spur was made public in 1967.

It later emerged that the entire road had, in fact, never been adopted by York City Council.

Residents were then asked in 2021 if they wanted the council to take on the  road – including the tiny spur.

Eight of nine households on Government House Road voted in favour.

The contested status of the highway has since resulted in court proceedings, including a legal battle with the pair’s neighbours and a failed judicial review.

The couple believe they have spent up to £100,000 trying to claim the drive as theirs.

Rachel said: “The whole thing is mind-boggling. It’s literally a road to nowhere outside our house.

“Anyone who looks at it would say it’s obviously a driveway.

“We bought the house because it’s tucked away and it’s private. We lived here blissfully unaware there was an issue for four years.

“It was only when we applied to do building work that we realised we had inherited a problem that we never knew we had.”

A planning application to enclose the garden was thrown out by councillors this month.

A separate appeal is also being considered this week by the High Court.

The couple claimed in legal documents that the lock-up at the end of the cul-de-sac spur had been unlawfully-built.

But neighbour Adam Kraemer-Dent told council planners: “I believe the real reason for this application with the erection of the gates is to deny our access to the garage at the end of the road.”

“The whole of Government House Road is public highway – the proposed change of use and erection of gates would mean that I couldn’t use that section of the road to fully access my property.”

The couple claim that Mr Kraemer-Dent could access the unit from another entrance from within his own garden.

Rachel added: “The impact on us of not being allowed to enclose our garden is that we don’t have any privacy.

“We would never have purchased this house had we known about this weird problem with the driveway.”

York Council ruled against closing off the road.

Cllr Jonny Crawshaw: “I do see that in some respects, this has become a publicly adopted highway by default,” he said.

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“I don’t think there would be any debate about whether we should be looking to remove the adopted highway status if it weren’t for the access to the garage.

“But I don’t think I can support closing it off.”

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