Friday, September 15, 2006

The long tale of the feathered edge fence has finally come to and end.

On Wednesday, 9th March 2005, Mr C. Black of 7, Whinberry Way, St Fagans, Cardiff erected a fence enlarging his garden by 8.30m wide and 14.00m long. This equates to an increase of his garden size by 116 sq metres from the landscape that was in the public domain along the pavement. I reported this to our council who had not received a planning application for the erection of this fence.

Mr C. Black then made a retrospective planning application to our council which I opposed stating...

This house is a part of Westfield Park, an open plan estate, that has been landscaped and has bloomed over the past 6 years. As you come onto the estate and turn right on the roundabout you enjoy the look of the good use of open space, the staggered housing and the numerous bushes and shrubs in front of numbers 1 and 3 Crosswells Way.

Since the owner of No7 Whinberry Way has moved his fence 8.30m outwards onto the edge of the pavement, you are now greeted with the starkness of a fence in the style of a construction site. If this was a building site, when the work was completed the hoardings would be removed but this fence could remain forever. The area taken over since this fence was moved is equivalent to having another house on the end of the road. Out of view is the 116sq metres of landscaping complete with a tree that once enhanced the look of this estate. A lot of thought has gone into the design of this estate and now the character of this estate has changed.

Around this estate there are a number of visibility splays created from block paving, there is one outside of my home. This fence before the junction restricts visibility just where a child could run out into the road.

This planning application was refused by our council and the reasons given were...

The application was determined on 23/08/2005 when it was resolved that:

That planning permission be REFUSED for the following reason(s):

The fence is an obtrusive feature in the street scene, by reason of it's height, materials, prominent corner siting and the enclosure of the exsisting landscaped area, which forms an important part of the character of this estate. It is therefore contrary to Policy 11 (Design and Aesthetic Quality) of the Cardiff Local Plan as well as Policy 2.20 (Good Design) of the deposit Cardiff Unitary Development Plan.

Nothing then happened and the fence remained in it's place. I then wrote to our council and Mr C. Black decided to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

The Planning Inspectorate considered his appeal and decided...

Appeal Decision

Site visit made on 04/04/06

by Anthony H Vaughan

an Inspector appointed by the National Assembly for Wales

Date 25/04/2006

Appeal Ref: APP/Z6815/A/06/1197717

Site address: 7 Whinberry Way, St Fagans, Cardiff.

The National Assembly has transferred the authority to decide this appeal to me as the appointed Inspector.

The appeal is made by Mr C Black under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against the decision of the Cardiff County Council to refuse to grant planning permission.

The application ref:05/01422/W, registered by the Council on 16 June 2005, was refused by notice dated 23 August 2005.

The development is for the retention of a feathered edge fence.

Decision

1. For the reasons given below, I dismiss this appeal.

Reasons

2. The fence that has been erected is both prominent and overbearing in appearance. In my opinion, the proximity to the highway of this discordant and unprepossessing enclosure mars the residential alignment at the entry to Crosswells Way, spoiling the character and openness of the present housing layout. To permit the fence to remain would breach both Policy 11 of the City of Cardiff Local Plan which is the Development Plan and Policy 2.20 of the emerging UDP.

3. I have taken account of the claims regarding the problems of maintenance of the landscaped strip, its allegedly unauthorised use as a play and dog exercise area and domestic security. I have also considered all other matters raised in the submissions, including other fencing projects in the locality, and the letters of support that have been submitted, but find nothing that turns me away from my decision.

Inspector.

The fence remained in the same position so I emailed the Planning Inspectorate and then our council and nothing happened until Sunday 3rd September 2006 when Mr C. Black moved his whole fence backwards an exact 2.00m from the pavement. I was pleased that he has moved the fence back 2.00m although not the original 8.3m and I have now received a letter from our council that puts this issue to an end...

7 Whinberry Way, St Fagans, Cardiff

I refer to the fence erected to the side garden of the above-mentioned property.

The owner has now moved the fence from the back of pavement to such an extent that it is now considered to be "permitted development", under the Town and Country planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, and that the breach of planning control has now been remedied.

I regret, therefore, that there is no further action I can take in this matter.

Yours sincerly,

Stuart Bannister
for Planning Enforcement Manager.

So this now draws this tale to an end.

I am pleased at the eventual outcome. I think Mr C. Black just acted hoping that nobody would be bothered and he could then build another house in his garden as the extended area would have become accepted use. I thought his arrogance at ignoring planning applications, procedure and declarations needed to be challenged as his fence positioning changed the character of our road. Once he had moved his fence the ambience we enjoyed on this estate had been lost, possibly forever. I am pleased that our council stood up to him although he clearly thought I had forgotten about the issue! I think that had I not kept on then the fence would not have moved or the council taken any action. So I claim this a victory, for common sense and my journalistic skills. I claim 2.00m by 14.00m that is 28sq metres! Democracy in action and one man's arrogance defeated by a typewriting bus driver! Oh, what I pretty green road I live on and how nice the residents keep their gardens.
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