Privacy-loving residents of well-heeled suburb hit out at ‘jobsworth’ Labour council that is ordering them to tear down their garden fences
- The council say the fences are ‘not in keeping’ with the area
Privacy-loving neighbours in a suburb claim they have been ‘singled out’ by ‘jobsworth’ officials from a Labour council who have ordered them to tear down their garden fences.
Homeowners have taken offence at being told to get planning permission for wooden fences put up at the front of their homes as council enforcement officers say they are ‘not in keeping’ and ‘worsen visibility’ in Lliswerry, Newport.
Locals are furious because they are not aware of any complaints about their fences – and the same structures are common in other parts of the Welsh city.
One owner told how they erected a 5ft 6in fence to protect a vulnerable foster child who suffers with learning difficulties and anxiety.
They said: ‘If someone is walking past, it triggers her.
Locals say they have been singled out for their ‘offending’ fences
They claim they have been ordered to take down their fences as they are ‘not in keeping’ with the area
The decision has sparked a furious backlash from privacy loving neighbours
‘Since the fence went up, she’s able to play in the front garden.’
The owner paid £460 to apply for retrospective planning permission but had the application refused – and are now appealing which costs a further £300.
They said: ‘We had hedges before. They were seven foot high and two foot wide and out of control. But that’s allowed and this isn’t.’
Lliswerry is described as ‘one of the nicer suburbs’ of the Welsh city – with four independent councillors on the Labour-controlled council.
Another neighbour Corinne Winslett said: ‘They are all over Newport.. Why are we being singled out?
‘None of us thought we were breaking the law when we erected our fences, and none of us were aware that there was a law.
‘My options were to apply for planning permission at £460, or pay my local builder £300 to take the fence down, or appeal the council decision – which would cost £280. None of which I could afford.’
Corinne said she felt the planning officers ‘make the laws and decides who abides to them.’
She added: ‘I’m all for abiding to the law if it applies to everyone.’
Councillor Mark Howells said that 45 enforcement notices had been served about the fence issue in the Lliswerry area in the past five years.
Another neighbour said: ‘This is just such a jobsworth thing for this council to do. As if there isn’t more important things in the world than the height of people’s fences.’
Councillor Mark Howells said that 45 enforcement notices had been served
Ward councillor Allan Morris has said he is confused by the directive
Ward councillor Allan Morris said he had not been told of any complaints from neighbours.
He said: ‘What I want to hear from the chief executive is are we seriously going to be taking people to court where the council is going to incur legal expenses and the public are going to incur legal expenses?
‘If people had been complaining to us, we would understand it. But we haven’t had anyone come to us.’
A spokesperson said: ‘Newport City Council is legally obliged to investigate complaints in relation to breaches of planning regulations and, if necessary, take action including the serving of enforcement notices.
‘Enforcement notices were served on two properties in the Lliswerry area after complaints about unauthorised fences were received.
‘The council then received a large number of complaints about differing types of means of enclosures for the boundaries of properties in the area. Each was investigated but only four were found to be in breach of planning legislation.
‘As a result, enforcement notices were served in each case. Formal enforcement action is a last resort when negotiations have failed to resolve the breach of planning control.
‘There is an independent appeal process for people who wish to challenge the notice or an application that has been refused.
‘Court action is only taken if remedial action is not undertaken by the property owner and the council would be able to recover its costs.’
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