I bought a privacy fence to protect my kids… I’ve been told to tear it down due to my neighbours – the reason's a joke | The Sun
10th September 2023

A DAD who bought a six-foot privacy fence to protect his kids now faces having to tear it down after his neighbours objected.

Jamie Risk retrospectively applied for planning permission after putting up a garden fence to provide "greater privacy and security" and to stop headlights from waking up his children.

Supportive neighbours of Mr Risk say he has a baby on the way and they think the newborn would be “woken up continuously from car lights” if the fence was not there.

They claim the fence allows the family to live life without their “curtains closed” 24/7 for privacy.

However, others have called the wooden fence “awful” and “unreasonable” because it affects the road's “aesthetics” and views.

Southampton City Council planners have said the planning application should be rejected ahead of a decision on Tuesday, as it's “at odds” with the open plan gardens of the neighbourhood.

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Mr Risk, who is a ground-floor resident of the detached two-storey property in Southampton, Hampshire, had the fence put up in June to stop lights from shining into his living room and kitchen, and to boost the security of his garden.

But council planners are recommending the fence on Moorlands Crescent – which has an average house price of £180,000 – be torn down.

They said: "The proposed fence by virtue of its height and siting is at odds with the prevailing character of Moorlands Crescent which primarily consists of open plan frontages with low-level boundary treatments.

"The proposal therefore results in harm to the character of the area. Any benefits to the applicant in terms of any perceived privacy benefits would not outweigh the harm identified above."

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"The applicant has stated that the fence was installed in order to provide greater privacy and security, and to prevent headlights shining in the windows of the property."

But neighbours have rallied in support of the young local family, saying their children wouldn't "settle" because of the lights coming into the house.

One resident said: "I am in support of this fence and so is a number of the residents within the street.

"It has brought a much-needed facelift to a property that had been neglected for a number of years. Before the current owners took over this property, it had become a bit of an eyesore within the street.

"The current owners have a young family and before this fence was erected there were lights from the driveways opposite pouring into the property which affected the children of the house when trying to settle.

"They have had people walking across the only garden this property has which, may I add, is located on the side of their property and not on the front as the front door is located on the side of the property.

"I strongly feel that this fence is a much-needed addition not only for privacy but for security too.

"The family are also expecting a newborn baby and anything less than a six-foot fence would not give them privacy or stop their newborn from being woken up continuously from car lights pouring into the property.

"All it has done is protect the property from opportunists, stopped people from being able to view directly into the occupants' living room and enabled them to feel secure during the day, and not have to live life with their curtains closed.

"I cannot understand why anyone would be against such a welcome addition to the road."

Another neighbour defended the family and commented on the application: "Having lived on the road for almost 16 years and having a young family at the time, I know the need for safety is a must, especially more so now.

"The fence does not obscure the views in the street, it's a quiet road with a lot of 'work' vehicles that are just as high, if not higher than the said fence.

"For the safety, privacy and well-being of a family with children, I honestly do not understand why anyone would object to such a thing."

Another neighbour added: "It gives the young family that lives there the privacy and security they deserve in their own home.

"The fence does not affect light into anyone else's property, and it has been built by a professional so is not a danger to anyone walking up and down the pavement.

"From what I have seen from canvassing the area, if you are to enforce this on this property then the council will be very busy with 20-30 other properties locally who have done exactly the same thing."

Another supporter said: "As an individual with a family, I can also understand the reason to have a garden for children to safely play in."

Commenting online, Anna Conda said: "It surrounds the rear garden, which happens to border the street, which would look odd otherwise with a low fence.

"It looks perfectly in-keeping to me.

"An adjacent similar property has a three-foot wall topped with a three-foot fence. There's no reasonable grounds the council should refuse this."

A few of the locals agree with the council, however, and said they would prefer the fence be shorter.

One local said in objection to the application: "The fence is not in keeping with the rest of the road, as this is a front garden with a six-foot fence."

Another added: "I think a fence of six feet is unreasonable in a front street. It could block views and affect the road's aesthetics. If everyone did this, this could set a precedent.

"The road would look awful. Three or four feet is adequate to prevent being overlooked or incoming lights from vehicles and I would not object.

"If garden security or safety is a concern then maybe the purchase of a property with a rear garden should have been considered."

A decision on whether Mr Risk can keep the fence will be made on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, a friend who built a privacy fence managed to turn it into a work of art.

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