Newtown bypass: I’m under siege, says homeowner
A homeowner has claimed he has been barricaded in his own home as bypass construction starts on his land.
Robert Roberts has been involved in a long-running dispute with the Welsh Government over the value of his home, which is on the route of the Newtown bypass.
In the past Mr Roberts’ family and supporters have made numerous calls for the matter to be resolved, but so far there has been no resolution.
The bypass construction has been edging ever closer to his home in recent weeks, and yesterday Mr Roberts claimed work had begun on his land.
A defiant Mr Roberts has said he will not be moved and had been planning to stage his own protest but was unable to do so because of the police presence. He described the situation as like being “under siege”.
He said: “We have a right to protest, a legal right but that has been taken away.
“I have had police officers harassing me all day, they were knocking on my window at 7.30am this morning. They’ve stopped us from having this protest.
“They were going to come and arrest me last night, so I left the house and went to sleep in the car.
“There have been police officers here all day, the chief officer, but there has been no violence, it was going to be a peaceful protest.
“If we want to leave the property we have to request to leave. My daughter went to the shop and a police officer followed her, that is harassment.”
In the past Mr Roberts has said the Welsh Government has failed to meet the valuation given by an estate agent. He said his house was not now fit to live in.
“They have begun working on my land today, they’ve stolen my land from me,” he said. “The last thing the Government said to me was take the money or stay, and I think that is disgusting.
“We’re going to fight this.
“Something is going to happen today, there have been four high court sheriffs here, they’ve barricaded us in like animals.
“We are under siege so this evening we are leaving to stay somewhere else, but we will continue to fight.“If there is any damage to the property over night, they are responsible.”
The police were unavailable for comment yesterday.
The Welsh Government has previously insisted that it has made efforts to reach an agreement with Mr Roberts.
Last month a spokesman said: “The valuation of this property is being negotiated with Davis Meade Property Consultants who provide comparable evidence to support their valuations.
“We would expect their valuation to be based on actual market transactions closely relating to the property, rather than a price set by an estate agent.
“Welsh Government officials and the district valuer have met Mr Roberts and his agent several times in an effort to move matters forward and officials have again written advising of the options available and the evidence that should be provided to make progress.”
A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesman said: "Officers were present at Pool Road, Newtown on September 21, to facilitate a peaceful protest at the site.
"Four police officers were at the site, between 7am and 4pm. Police worked closely with the organiser and contractors in the lead-up to the protest to give safety advice. No arrests were made and no problems reported.”