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Father hits back in garden fence fight
A LOSTOCK father feels he is being “penalised” for wanting privacy after Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) said his garden fence is too tall.
Stuart Dutton, who lives on Harris Road with his wife and two-year-old daughter, is concerned for both the safety and privacy of his family after he discovered he may have to reduce the height of his fence by half its size.
The fence, which stands at just under two metres tall, was erected two and a half years before the Duttons moved in.
“We were made aware of an ongoing issue with CWAC when we bought the house,” said 34-year-old Stuart.
“At the time the council had advised the previous owner that further planning permission was not required for the erection of the side fence.”
At a late stage of the sale, Stuart learned that there was an enquiry to reduce the height of the fence, as it did not abide with guidelines.
“We were told that because the fence is adjacent to a highway it could only stand at one metre high,” said Stuart.
“This leaves our house extremely exposed to passers-by and also in full view from all traffic coming in and out of the adjacent road.
“We have a two-year-old child and also a baby on the way, who we are told will only have one arm – safety and security of our family is paramount.”
Following an enforcement notice, the issue is now being decided by the planning inspectorate.
“We are left with three options, none of which are mutually beneficial,” said Stuart.
“We can reduce the panels to one metre high, move the fence back by two metres, meaning we would lose 36 square metres of our garden, or we can remove the fence altogether and replant hedges which would leave our garden fully exposed.
“Why should we have to put our family at risk in a family home we have purchased, with the enclosed family sized garden being one of the main selling points on the property?
“We do feel we are being penalised for wanting to retain a level of privacy, safety and security that we should be entitled to in a house in which we have paid a lot of our hard earned time and money to purchase.”
Stuart added that there has not been a single complaint about the fence, which has been in place for three years.
He said: “We were told that if it had been in place for four years then the council could not serve any type of enforcement or enquiry on it.”
A spokesman for Cheshire West and Chester Council said the case is currently being decided by the planning inspectorate in Bristol, adding that “any fence over a metre high requires a planning application.”