Couple told they can keep 6ft garden fence built without permission after councillors overrule planning officers

The front of a Victorian house with a stone wall and 6 foot wooden fence
Councillors overturned a planning officer's report that rejected refusing the couple's retrospective planning permission (Image credit: Google Street View)

A couple have won a battle to allow a 6ft 6ins wooden fence to remain after councillors disagreed with the planning officer's assessment.

Michael and Emma Jackson who live in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, built the wooden fence that had previously been denied planning permission for not being "in-keeping with the area", which was strenuously denied by the couple who claimed numerous houses had similar fences in the area.

The couple built the fence and sought retrospective planning permission from Pendle Borough Council which agreed with the couple that the fence was not "objectionable", overturning the planning officer's decision.

What was built?

The Jacksons built a wooden palisade fence at the front of their two-storey mid-terraced property.

A palisade fence is type of fence made up of a line of closely spaced, tall, wooden stakes arranged as a barrier for enclosing an area.

The fence stands on top of a 1-metre-high stone wall around their front garden area. The sloped fence ranges from 0.9m to 1.2m bringing the height of the wall at the front of their home to an overall maximum height of 6ft 6 inches (2 metres).

Although planning permission for fences is normally not needed to put up a fence that isn't above 2 metres, as the home is facing a highway permission was needed.

Couple accuse authorities of hypocrisy 

Having previously seen their planning permission refused for the fence a year ago Mr and Mrs Jackson decided to build the fence anyway claiming the fence was needed to protect them from a neighbour's CCTV cameras and that other homes were allowed similar fencing.

The couple sought retrospective planning arguing they needed more privacy due to a neighbour having CCTV as Mr Jackson claimed: "There are CCTV cameras on a neighbouring property which capture the entire front of our house. These have not been changed despite requests. The fence gives our family some privacy when arriving or leaving, or sitting outside."

They also rejected the council's arguments that the fence was "out of character for the area" claiming many properties had high fencing at the front of their properties.

Mr Jackson added: "There is a mix of frontages. The Pendle Local Plan does not appear to be consistently applied across Barnoldswick, West Craven or Pendle. There is a mix of properties and fronts in the surrounding streets of Barnoldswick such as Colne Road, Denton Street, Park Avenue and Skipton Road, just to name a few.

"This space is important and we do not have much space at the back. We also take great care and look after our property. It is not out-of-character with the area."

Numerous wooden fences on stone walls along a sloped street

The couple argued other homes in the area had similar wooden fences, as can be seen above, and so the claim it was not "in-keeping" with the area was not valid (Image credit: Google Street View)

Planning officers clash with councillors

Planning officers rejected the application claiming the Victorian terraces in the area typically had low front stone walls meaning the fence would affect the aesthetics of the area, but they were overruled by the local council.

Planning officers argued the fence was contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework claiming the "design and materials of the proposed fencing" were "incongruous" to the area.

However, after inspection Councillor David Whipp disagreed with the planning officers report, stating: "This matter came out of an enforcement issued a few months ago. I went to the street to have a look and initially went straight past the fence. It was not 'in your face'. I had gone past it because it did not seem objectionable. My view is that it should be allowed."

Councillor Mick Strickland added: "I'm sympathetic for a couple of reasons. I have something similar where I live. I've compared it with Cavendish Street. It is restrictive and there is not much space at the back.

"This matter has been on our meeting agendas for quite a while. It has been kicked back-and-forth. If we have driven around there and it doesn't jump, it's not that bad. This does not jump out and it has been proved to be a benefit."

Councillors voted to allow the fence to remain on January 10th, overturning the planning officer's previous rejections.

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.