Inspector rules fence 'particularly intrusive' and must come down

Dunstan Street fence that planners say must go

Dunstan Street fence that planners say must go - Credit: ECDC

A six-foot boundary fence which even county highways said did not obstruct visibility, must come down. 

East Cambridgeshire District Council ruled the fence is out of keeping with the street scene – and an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate has supported that decision.  

“The main issue is the effect of the proposal on the character and appearance of the area,” said planning inspector David Reed.  

He dismissed an appeal by Lucy Jex against the council’s refusal to allow the retrospective application.  

fence must come down

Fence must come down - Credit: ECDC

The 1.8m wooden close boarded fence is on the inside of existing 0.5m brick boundary wall in Dunstan Street. 

He accepted there was a variety of “boundary treatments” in the area. 

But he said her home occupies a prominent corner plot with the fence running along two boundaries. 

Dunstan Street fence that planners say must go

Dunstan Street fence that planners say must go - Credit: ECDC

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It joins at a road junction but with “no significant landscaping along either frontage, the fence as erected is particularly intrusive in the street scene.  

“Whilst there are other unscreened fences in the area, this does not justify a further erosion of a relatively verdant neighbourhood”. 

Mr Reed added: “The fence causes significant harm to the character and appearance of the area.” 

And that was “in conflict” with the East Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2015. 

One neighbour who supported the couple had told the council the fence was to “provide safety, security and privacy for their children.  

“Both the roads and their adjacent pavements are busy thoroughfares, with Dunstan Street having a bus stop immediately next to their garden area.  

“They feel it is imperative that the fence is retained if they are to be able continue to live in the house and for their children to use the garden space with no potential danger from passers-by.” 

The neighbour added; “A one metre fence would not provide that safety and security.  

Dunstan Street fence that planners say must go

Dunstan Street fence that planners say must go - Credit: ECDC

“The fence does not affect the street scene along either West Fen Road or Dunstan Street as there are many other fences of similar height that also are adjacent to the highway.” 

County highways said the fence “does not appear to encroach onto highway land nor does it obstruct inter-vehicle visibility at the junction.  

“I therefore have no objection to this application on highway safety grounds.”