AN EIGHT-FOOT rail fence erected in front of a row of cottages in Blackwell has left neighbours feeling like 'animals in a safari park'.

The railings were installed along the train tracks off Station Road as part of upgrade works by Network Rail, partially blocking residents' view over Lickey and the country park.

Lee Hepburn, 53, who lives in one of the old station cottages, said: "Network Rail said they'd be replacing the fence in front of our property because there used to be a three-foot-high one there before, which was fine.

"Then I got home from work one day and they'd put an eight-foot fence up.

"Firstly we're worried it's going to knock the value of the houses and then it's completely eclipsed the view we had over the hills.

"I'm thinking of selling in the spring but who's going to want to buy a house behind a great big fence?

"It's making us feel like we're in West Midlands Safari Park being fenced in like this.

"They said it's meant to stop people going on the tracks but no one comes up here - it's pointless."

Neighbours have since held a meeting with Network Rail, calling for the fence to be lowered.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: "The book is certainly not closed on this one.

"We're working with the local community to find a solution. What we're proposing at this stage is to re-run the risk assessment to see if the fencing can be modified.

"Residents have said they'd be happy with a smaller fence in the same material so we'll be considering this depending on the outcome of the assessment in the next couple of weeks."