Homeowners told to share garden with pedestrians

Friday May 13th 2022

Midlothian-Council-Shraed-garden-Penicuik

Linda Russell has been told she cannot fence in the strip along the side of her house as pedestrians need it to get off the road.


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A couple who wanted to put a boundary fence around their garden were told they could not because it gave pedestrians a safe place to escape vehicles on the road.

Linda and Jim Russell applied for planning permission to extend the fence at the side of their house out to include a 1-metre strip of their garden which lies there.

However Midlothian Council refused to give it the go ahead after telling them the strip of garden provided a safe space for pedestrians to step onto after describing the road as a “shared surface”.

Retired Linda said she was “extremely disappointed” by the decision and could not understand why they were expected to allow people to step into their private garden.

She said: “It is an extremely disappointing decision. Initially we thought the strip of garden at the side was public land but have since found out it is part of our garden so we thought moving the fence out and along to enclose it made sense.

“Given it is our private garden it makes no sense to say it has to be left open for pedestrians to step into.”

The couple moved into the new house at Sycamore Drive, Penicuik, just over a year ago and are in a cul de sac.

They said they wanted to move the back garden fence out a metre and introduce a lower 1.2metre fence along the side of the house.

They also wanted to close a gap at the side of their front garden with fencing because, they said, it was being used regularly by delivery drivers rather than going to the front path.

However planning officers refused permission for the extended fence after the council’s roads department said the housing had been designed as a “shared surface” route meaning there are no separate footpaths for pedestrians.

They said: “As a ‘shared surface’ an open grass verge is normally provided on both sides of the route to allow pedestrians to step from the shared surface if they are concerned over the presence of vehicles using the route.

“The relocation of this boundary fence to the edge of the shared surface would remove this facility and reduce road safety for pedestrians.”

Refusing planning permission the council also said the proposed fence would be a “very prominent feature, out of character with, and presenting a harsh frontage in, the street scene”.

Linda said the couple are now considering their options.

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