Woman builds huge wooden fence in front of neighbour's windows

Neighbours now have three windows cut off by fence - and council says she can keep it

Woman builds 2m wooden fence inches from her neighbour's windows - and is told by council she can keep it

A woman who built a two-metre wooden fence inches from her neighbour's windows has defended her actions - and has the backing of a Government agency.

Kate Chubb built the fence around her six-acre plot in Beeks Mill, St Catherine, in Somerset.

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Her neighbours complained about the erection and lodged an appeal to force her to take it down.

But Ms Chubb won a blocking to the appeal and has been told by the Planning Inspectorate that it can stay up - provided it isn't extended.

Her neighbours are angry over the decision issued on February 3, as one said she is "appalled", reports the Bath Chronicle.

Neighbours Janice and Anthony Hemms, whose Papermill Cottage property now has three windows on the ground floor within four inches of the timber structure.

Credits: Bath Chronicle

Bath Chronicle

Mrs Hemms told the Bath Chronicle: "I'm disappointed, shocked and really appalled.

"I didn't think for a moment this would be the result, I thought it was common sensical."

St Catherine Parish Council chair Donald MacIntyre added: "It's pretty ridiculous.

"As far as the parish is concerned it is an unnecessary and unhappy situation which we would like to see resolved and this planning appeal has not resolved this issue at all."

But Ms Chubb, a single mum who has lived on the property since 2011, hit back at being branded the "arch villain".

She told the Chronicle: "I'm sure you have been encouraged to believe I'm the arch villain - I look like it but I'm not."

Ms Chubb erected the fence to protect cattle who graze her land from potentially harming themselves by coming into contact with the windows.

Up to 10 cows of various breads belonging to a neighbouring farmer take shelter from the elements in the lee of the Hemms' property, according to Ms Chubb.

Bath and North East Somerset Council issued an enforcement notice against her ordering the fence to be removed after it was installed at the end of 2015.

She appealed against that order and was backed by the Planning Inspectorate, which ruled the fence to be "permitted development".

The judgement from inspector Peter Drew found, "The structure harms the living conditions of the occupiers of Papermill Cottage by reason of loss of outlook and daylight."

But Mr Drew concluded, "I have no reason to doubt that the Appellant's motivation was to safeguard the tenant's cattle.

"There can be no doubt that a means of enclosure can be erected up to 2 m high along this boundary."

Ms Chubb said: "Although it looks pretty horrendous, the whole thing, unfortunately I don't feel the cause of that fence.

"I'm a single mum and I've had to go along and put something up there like I'm the Hungarian government putting up a border patrol when I'm not."

"Pathetic application for costs"

An application by B&NES Council for costs in respect of Ms Chubb's appeal was dismissed by Mr Drew.

He wrote in a separate judgement, "In fifteen years as a Planning Inspector this is the most pathetic application for costs I have ever had the misfortune to have to adjudicate on.

"The Guidance is clear that there is a right of appeal and this is expressly reiterated in respect of enforcement notices.

"Put bluntly this application for costs is so frivolous as to be a complete waste of public resources."

The Chronicle is awaiting a comment from B&NES Council.

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