Our garden view was wrecked by neighbour's 20ft 'rollercoaster' – but we fought it and they will have to tear it down | The SunSeptember 15, 2022
A COUPLE whose garden view was wrecked by their neighbour's 20ft 'rollercoaster' have won the fight and will watch it be torn to the ground.
Jenny Mason, 46, and Stuart Dodd, 48, were able to look out over trees and distant fields when they first moved into their £325,000 semi-detached house in April.
But just three months later the pair were stunned when they arrived home one day to see an 118ft-long row of metal racking erected on the other side of their fence in Roudham, East Harling, Norfolk.
The structure, which the couple have likened to a “rollercoaster”, was built 60ft back from their fence without planning consent in the yard of Crendon Timber Engineering.
The couple, and other neighbours, were furious and complained to the company and the Breckland Council, demanding it be pulled down.
And, despite the company putting forward its case with evidence around why the racking was a "long-term investment" for its site, it's been told by the council it must go.
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Mother-of-three Jenny, who works with special needs adults, previously said: “We absolutely loved this house when we bought it.
“We knew there was a timber yard on the other side of the fence, but it didn’t bother us. It was supposed to be our dream home.
“We could live with a little bit of noise."
But, one day in July, Stuart returned home to find diggers at work and asked what the contractors were doing.
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When they told the landscape artist they were "putting up a steel structure" he immediately went to the yard to complain and was told they had planning consent to work.
However, he quickly discovered the company didn't have consent and about a week later the racking appeared while the couple were out.
Construction stopped as the council asked the company to apply for retrospective planning permission, but the racking still stood tall.
Jenny said: “It has ruined our enjoyment of our garden. Who wants to sit out and look at this monstrosity?
“It is just disgusting and awful. I don’t see how it can be allowed. It is hideous.
“We know people have got to make a living, and it wouldn’t be so bad if it was a bit lower. But at the moment it is just too damn high.”
It has ruined our enjoyment of our garden. Who wants to sit out and look at this monstrosity?
The pair called for the racking to be torn down straight away, but had to wait for the council's decision.
Planning documents submitted to the council by Crendon Timber Engineering described the racking as evidence of the firm’s “long term investment” in their site.
A design and access statement drawn up by agents acting for the firm said the racking would provide “much needed additional storage capacity, which is necessary to meet current and future demands, especially with the growing housing market.”
The statement said that racking was “likely to have little to no impact on the local area, including residential properties” even though it was “visible from some of the residential properties on Harling Road”.
It added: “The proposal should have minimal noise impact, as the area is currently used for storage by the applicant”.
The statement also claimed that the racking would allow the firm “to work more efficiently with less vehicle movements and a safer alternative to the current storage”.
My neighbour came round yesterday and said 'Yay, we've done it'
The firm's branch director said he understood local residents’ concerns, but claimed that there had been "informal conversations" with the neighbours to see whether the racking’s appearance could be improved.
But council officers have refused consent for the structure after the protests from several neighbours, as well as the local parish council.
Officers described it as "visually prominent feature which fails to add to the overall quality of the area and would be detrimental to the appearance of the street scene and the character of the area”.
They added: “The issues are so fundamental to the proposal that it has not been possible to negotiate a satisfactory solution and due to the harm which has been clearly identified within the reason(s) for the refusal, approval has not been possible”.
Jenny said she was “over the moon” with the decision, which will effectively force the timber yard to pull the racking down or face potential enforcement action.
She said: “My neighbour came round yesterday and said: 'Yay, we've done it.'
“The fact that we've sat and looked at it for six weeks, with no planning permission, and now it's been refused – that's made us all really angry.
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“We've had so much support from the community. We've all stuck together and just done everything we can possibly can.
"The fact that it's been refused is massive.”
How to complain about a neighbour to the council
If you have tried and failed to resolve your neighbourly issue by talking to your neighbour you can approach your local council.
Your local council can step in if the dispute involves any activity that is a nuisance or could damage your health.
To complain all you need to do is contact your local council, many have a specialist team to deal with disputes of this nature.
One of the most common neighbourly issues is excessive or unreasonable noise levels.
This can also cover artificial light or a build up of rubbish that could possibly cause harm.
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