Fence owner delighted as ‘common sense prevails’

Saturday July 22nd 2023


Before and after images of the hedge and fence in Pencaitland.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A retired home owner ordered to tear down a 6ft fence by planners said he is delighted after the decision was overturned by councillors, adding “common sense has prevailed”.

Ronald Anderson and his wife Jennifer replaced a 20ft high hedge at the side of their Pencaitland home with the fencing in a move they said improved light for both them and their neighbours while keeping their garden secure for their beloved pet dog.

However East Lothian Council planning officers told them they needed to apply for planning permission for the new fence – and when they did rejected the application.

They said the fence went against their policy for front facing boundaries and set a ‘harmful precedent’ for other houses.

Mr Anderson had argued that the fence was set back from the main boundary wall of the house with climbers and hedging planted in front of it which would, in time, grown and hide the fence from sight.

At a meeting of East Lothian Council’s Local Review Body this afternoon a majority of councillors backed his claim.

Review body member Councillor Andrew Forrest raised concerns that allowing the fence to remain would “open the door for others to do the same”.

However fellow councillor Liz Allan disagreed telling colleagues she believed each case should be considered on its merits.

She told the meeting: “I think a case by case approach is appropriate here. The fence itself within a very short period of time will be hidden by garden foliage.

“I do not think it will be out of place.”

Councillor Jeremy Findlay, chairing the meeting, asked for a landscape plan to be included as a condition of approval, setting out how the fence would be covered by the planting in front of it.

He said: “I can understand why officers made their decision and am not being critical of them at all but I think if the hedge is grown up it will cover the fence and that, to me, is important.”

Councillors voted by two to one to grant retrospective planning permission for the fence with a condition of a landscaping plan being included.

Speaking after the decision, Mr Anderson said: “I am delighted that common sense has prevailed and councillors have understood that we have tried to improve the look of the area.

“We are happy to comply with their condition, we all want the same thing, which is for it to look good, while at the same time giving us security.”

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