Gardener told she needs permission for 12-inch high plant border

August 2, 2011 | by | 2 Comments

Bungling council chiefs told a stunned woman she would need planning permission for a plant border in her garden which stood – just 12 INCHES high.

Gardener told she needs permission for 12-inch high plant border

Green-fingered Christine Hudson, 60, thought nothing of erecting the small wooden panelling in her own garden to hem in her lush rows of blooming purple fuschias.

But she received a visit from an overzealous council planning inspector after the light log panel row was deemed to be an ”unauthorised development”.

The council then demanded she apply for retrospective planning permission for the ‘fence’ – despite it standing less than one foot tall – or remove it from her garden.

But the retired grandmother has stood firm against the council’s threats and REFUSED to do either.

Plucky Mrs Hudson stormed: ”The border panel is on my land and it is just 12 inches high, so I find all this really very petty.

”A neighbour of mine wrote to the council to say they didn’t like it and we had a visit from the council.

”When the chap from the council came down to inspect it, he smiled and said ‘I may have to send you a letter’.

”The next thing we know we are being told to either take down the border or apply for planning permission.

”But I have decided to stick up for myself and am not doing it. It’s so pathetic.”

Mrs Hudson’s husband Les, 55, carefully set up the panelling in a flowerbed in the garden of her four-bedroom mock Tudor home, in Emersons Green, Bristol, back in June.

The couple had bought four packs of the 12-inch high £8.99 log panels from DIY store Wickes to fill a four-metre line down the edge of their garden.

They decided to erect the 300ml wide border on their land to hem in their bright fuschias plants and make a clear borderline with next door’s garden.

But after a complaint from their neighbour, the pair recieved a visit from a South Gloucestershire Council inspector – who informed them that he tiny border may be illegal.

A letter then arrived in the post explaining that they had BROKEN planning rules.

Mrs Hudson, a retired retail worker, said: ”We had just returned from a holiday in Rome and had this letter waiting for us.

”It said we had two options – either to take the panelling down or apply for planning permission.

”We could not believe it – I tore up the letter because I was so furious.”

The council note claimed they should have sought planning permission before putting up the wooden edging – considered to be an ‘unauthorised development’.

It informed the couple that edging on the property boundaries did not fall under ‘Permitted Development Rights’ which allows minor changes without planning permission.

Local planning authorities can sometimes remove permitted development rights by enforcing an Article 4 direction – requiring planning permission.

But Mrs Hudson has stood firm, branding the spat a ”waste of taxpayer’s money”.

She said: ”I’ve been told that because these are new build houses, we are not allowed to do this, that and the other without planning permission.

”But I am standing up for my rights with this.

”It is such a waste of taxpayer’s money.”

Despite her visit and strongly worded letter, South Gloucestershire Council revealed it had hastily retracted its request for retrospective planning permission.

A spokesman for the authority defended its conduct during the ‘investigation’.

She said: ”The council has a duty to investigate complaints raised by members of the public and when a complaint was made about this boundary fence the council investigated.

”It advised the owner that their property does not have permitted development rights, which means that planning permission would be required for any form of boundary fence.

”The owner has been advised that no further action would be taken by the council on this matter but we are sorry if this was not made clear.

”We would be happy to discuss the issue further with the resident if they need anything to be clarified.”

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Comments (2)

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  1. Richard says:

    What is really pathetic is that the fellow from the commission came by, then wrote her a letter telling her she needed to apply for permission, which would have let the planning commission quell the angry neighbor.  She failed to see when someone was trying to do her a favor, and raised a public stink over it, forcing the commission to either back down and appear weak, or hold the line and appear ridiculous.  So, kudos for her courage completely negated by the penalty for her complete lack of common sense.

    • Evan says:

      Really though? Should people really be forced to jump through these ridiculous hoops just to appease an angry neighbor? And over what? You say it’s pathetic that she put a government council in the position where they’d have to appear weak (I’d argue reasonable and able to make sound judgments, not weak) or hold the line on some ridiculous statute? The fact that this council felt the need to quell the anger of this neighbor in the first place is ridiculous, especially over this tiny fence, if you can even call it that… and clearly the neighbor, once the proper paperwork is filed, won’t just think to himself, “Oh good, they went through the proper channels, I feel better now.” He’s probably just an asshole, or at best and old busy body that has nothing better to do. This is like something out of a bad sitcom seriously. I’m just floored that you actually think this way. And who knows how much it costs to get this paperwork checked off. Do you need to get a permit? Who knows, at this rate we may need to have an independent group draw up an environmental impact report. I’m sorry I’m still in shock you took this position here. Do you call your local planning commission to make sure every small decoration you put on your property is ok? Which form do I fill out if I want to plant petunias? Is it the same as nasturtiums? God knows what kind of bs I’ll have to go through if I want to plant tomatoes, probably have to go through the FDA.

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