The owners of St Elizabeth House, a luxury hotel in Plympton, Devon, have been ordered to take down a 6'6" high fence at the bottom of their garden, after a neighbour complained.
The Daily Mail reported that the owners Andreas (62) and Teresa Isaias (56) said they had put up the fence at the bottom of the garden in order to protect the children of guests from a stream than runs beyond it, and they didn't know they needed planning permission.
Their application for retrospective permission was rejected on the grounds that the fence would have an impact on the stream and posed a flood risk - as well as affecting mature trees nearby.
In total, three people objected to the application. One of them was Stephen Vitali, a 50-year-old, who lives in a property next to the hotel. The Plymouth Herald reported that he had contacted the council about a number of issues relating to the fence.
He complained it was 'out of character' for the area, and that it was "unsightly and overpowering from almost every corner of my garden."
He added his opinion that it was designed to cause 'maximum impact' to him, and "is the result of escalating tensions and dispute over access rights using the historic bridge and roadway over the brook linking the two grounds." The council did not comment on this claim.
Fences cause a surprising number of disagreements between neighbours. One of the oddest was in September last year, when a woman in the West Midlands discovered that her neighbours had built a 6 foot fence at the bottom of her garden - leaving her car stranded on the lawn. She had been driving in across a car park owned by the flats opposite, and parking on her lawn - to save having to park on her drive round the back. The flat owners responded by building a fence that effectively put a stop to this practice. Unfortunately her car was then left stranded on the lawn.
Then there was the odd story in August 2011 of the couple from Nether Compton in Dorset, who had used a gate leading from their garden to the play area next door for more than 19 years. They applied for planning permission to replace the fence and gate, and the council insisted they block the gate off. No explanation for the demand was given, and the couple refused, so the council showed up and built a short section of fence across the gate.
But perhaps most extreme was the case in 2009 in Sale, Greater Manchester. Two neighbours got into a dispute after both families extended their properties and one put up a new fence. While they were on holiday their neighbours took the fence down, and the case went to court. One family spent so much on the case and a subsequent appeal that they were forced to sell up to pay their legal bills.