Pedestrians using a Wollongong footpath now have to navigate a busy roadway and roundabout to cross to an adjoining street after a new fence has cut access.
The Stewart Street footpath, at the corner of Kembla Street, has been blocked by a steel fence built on private property, extending to the base of a large fig tree standing on the corner.
Unless they can climb through a small space between the tree and the fence, pedestrians have little choice but to step out onto the busy intersection, which contains a roundabout, to cross to Kembla Street.
The intersection is near the entrance to the carpark of the city Woolworths.
Angelo Di Martino, whose firm ADM Architects operates out of the cottage, said the fence had been installed to "increase security outside business hours, particularly to the carparking area at the rear" and the property owner was legally entitled to carry out the work.
He said pedestrian safety and footpath maintenance outside private property was a matter for Wollongong City Council to resolve.
A council spokesman said staff were aware the fence had been erected and the subsequent problems surrounding pedestrian access between Stewart and Kembla streets, but the fence was within the rules.
He didn't rule out removing the tree, but said the fig was listed as a "significant tree" under the council's local environment plan.
"The council will need to look at the heritage value [of the tree], community safety and other issues when considering this situation," the spokesman said.
Existing kerb ramps provided people with an alternative route around the tree, albeit via the road, in the meantime.
He confirmed no development approval was needed as the structure was under 1.2m high and within the property boundary.
Ward two councillor David Brown said it was important the situation was resolved, and flagged the possibility of the council acquiring some of ADM's land for a walkway.