A DISPUTE has broken out between neighbours over use of a lane in Mount Street, Bridgwater.

Although both sides remain amicable, the issue centres on a lane that runs alongside Bridgwater Foodbank in Mount Street.

Resident John Burge lives in a bungalow on the opposite side of the lane with his partner, who is 76 and works in care, and has health conditions which mean she cannot walk too far.

Since 1998 Mr Burge has been able to use the lane under license, which allowed him and his partner to park by their home, however since the Bridgwater Foodbank purchased the building, a gate has been put in place with a security code and Mr Burge and his partner have been told they cannot use the road.

Mr Burge accepts that the Foodbank are within their legal rights to do this, as the road is private and under their ownership.

However he also says neighbouring business Doddens has been given a licence for £800 to use the road for their vehicles and is frustrated that he has not been given the same option.

"I have now sold my car, and my partner now leaves hers in the car park in Market Street." Mr Burge said.

"It is frustrating because we have been able to use the lane for many years the stretch of road we are talking about using is only around 10 metres in length.

"We don't want to detract from the good work the Foodbank do, but feel there should be some sort of compromise that can be reached."

The valuation of the road has also been a matter of dispute, with the two parties significantly apart in how much they think the road is worth.

Regarding the use of the lane, Bridgwater Foodbank did not comment further than to say: “This is a confidential matter so we simply cannot comment in any detail, save to say we recently purchased land that we knew to have issues within its title which we have, very proactively, been trying to settle, and such efforts are very much ongoing.” 

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Mr Burge said he felt disappointed that the Foodbank still had not explained the reasoning behind not being given the opportunity to purchase a licence.

The organisers of the Foodbank say they are helping more people than ever as demand increases.

The foodbank in Mount Street has been running for seven years but manager Phil Jarman says this year has been their busiest yet.

"We have had the Citizens Advice Bureau say that they will be sending double the amount people our way compared to last December, which they say is a direct result of the installation of Universal Credit and low income Mr Jarman said.

The transitional roll out of Universal Credit has meant some people who were on fortnightly benefits have had to go up to six weeks without any income and this has led to a sharp increase in demand for the foodbank, Mr Jarman explained.

Bridgwater Foodbank does not decide who receives the three-day emergency food parcels, they have vouchers which are delegated to various agencies and organisations dealing with people in the community, and these agencies identify those most in need of the foodbank.

"Unfortunately a lot of people seem to believe people just rock up at door and take whatever they want and it just doesn’t work like that – members of the public have very generously given to the cause and we have a responsibility to make sure the food goes to those who need it," Mr Jarman said.

The maximum amount someone can receive is three, three-day parcels over a six month period, and in the past 12 months the foodbank has helped 2,500 people.

In the past year 40 tons have been donated and 39 tons given out by Bridgwater Foodbank, feeding a total of 4,596 people - 1,836 of whom were under 16 years of age.