A new barbed wire fence at a railway station has failed to impress residents and commuters.

Iron railings at Teddington station were removed and replaced with wire fencing but neither nearby residents or Richmond Council were informed and planning permission was not sought.

The move has angered residents, members of the Teddington Society, councillors and Twickenham MP Vince Cable, who branded Network Rail’s behaviour “arrogant”.

Dr Cable wrote to Network Rail’s chief executive, but was told, in this instance, it was exempt from planning orders despite the fence being in a conservation area.

The MP said: “Residents are angry that, having neglected for years to deal with disrepair on the pedestrian bridge at Teddington station, Network Rail has now rushed through an ugly and insensitive fence.

“It justifies barbed wire on the basis there has been a history of vandalism, but there are other options and they should be properly discussed before rushing ahead in this arrogant manner.”

Teddington ward councillor Stephen Knight, the deputy leader of the council, said: “Residents are rightly angry the attractive iron railings around Teddington station, which were only recently repainted, have been replaced.

“Network Rail has done this with no consultation or notification and has failed to apply for planning permission.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “The fence running along the railway around Teddington station needed replacing.

“As the old blue railing-style fencing no longer complies with modern standards, we replaced it with one of our standard, medium-security chainlink fences which include barbed wire at the top to act as a deterrent to people attempting to climb over it.

“Following concerns raised by some local people, we have offered to meet Richmond Council to discuss options for replacing the barbed wire element of the fence.

“It is important we maintain a secure boundary along the railway to deter trespass on the railway and vandalism.”

He revealed no planning permission was needed because the fencing was on land owned by the train company.

More details on railway fencing can be found at networkrail.co.uk/aspx/1019.aspx.