Protesters and residents have been urged to claim back a boatyard after a 10ft fence topped with razor wire was erected locking out neighbours and boaters.

More than 50 residents met at St Barnabas' Church in Jericho on Thursday 22/06to campaign against the eviction of boaters from the Castle Mill boatyard.

Residents and boaters including many who have placed Save Jericho Boatyard posters in their windows were urged to oppose planning permission for the fence, and any future housing development, by writing to MPs and councils.

British Waterways evicted the boaters from Castle Mill boatyard last month and has erected a fence separating houses from the river.

It plans to sell the land to housing developers and applied for retrospective planning permission for the fence to run for three years.

Boatyard spokesman John Keyes chaired the meeting and urged as many residents as possible to write protest letters.

He said: "British Waterways are the custodians of the water, not the owners we are the owners. Jericho deserves better."

Campaigners were shown slides detailing the history of the 150-year-old boatyard.

One resident of St Margaret's Road, Jericho, said: "This fence is an act of violence pointed directly and deliberately at the boaters and the community of Jericho.

"It's not the end, it's the beginning. The council is asking us what to do and what we think about this."

He was greeted with cries of 'tear it down' from campaigners inside the church.

Much of the anger was directed at British Waterways for both evicting the boaters and building the fence.

Criticism was also levelled at the organisation for building the fence before seeking planning application from Oxford City Council.

A resident of Victor Street, Jericho, questioned why the boaters had to be evicted to make way for a housing development.

She said: "Why does British Waterways need £4m? Are its debts that bad they have to sell off all our land?"

On Monday, Oxford City Council will discuss a motion to express concern to British Waterways and urge them to take the fence down.

Oxfordshire County Council has already passed a motion asking for the fence to be removed.

Eugene Baston, of British Waterways, said: "These measures are necessary because a small part of the community will not respect the law and have threatened to reoccupy the vacant site.

"We're sorry that this has caused some upset among the local community and remain committed to working with them into the future, but this cannot be at the cost of the site being reoccupied."