A pensioner faces having to sell his home after losing a legal battle over a boundary dispute with his neighbour – over FIVE INCHES of land.
Stubborn Ian Chisholm refused to remove an 6.5ft wooden fence which he erected while his neighbour David Roberts and his GP wife Dr Lorraine Foreman were on holiday.
When they returned they asked him to lower the fence or remove it entirely and the two families became locked in a bitter land battle.
The case reached a county court, where a judge ruled the fence encroached 13 centimetres onto his neighbours’ land and ordered him to pull it down.
Mr Chisholm was also ordered to pay almost £20,000 in legal costs, which he says he will have to sell his house to fund.
The pensioner, who lives with wife Teresa, 62, in the house in Paignton, Devon, wept yesterday as he told how the ordeal had left them ”severely depressed” and facing financial ruin.
He said: ”We wanted a peaceful retirement in Torbay and now look what we have been through.
”I represented myself because we didn’t have the money for a solicitor. Now we might end up losing our home.”
The Chisholms bought the detached house in 2007 for £290,000 after selling their home in Coventry for £310,000 and moving south to enjoy their retirement.
At the time a small fence separated the two properties but in 2009 Mr Chisholm replaced it with a two metre high green wooden fence.
Mr Roberts, 65, and Dr Foreman, 61, asked him to remove the ”eyesore”, which they described as ”too high and unsightly” and obscured their view.
The resulting row ended up at Torquay County Court this week where the dispute centred on exactly where the boundary line between the properties fell.
An expert report said it was impossible to exactly pinpoint the boundary but the judge used photographic evidence of a wall demolished before the Chisholms moved in to determine the line.
It also emerged that Mr Roberts had let the previous owners ”borrow” 13 centimetres of land for their small fence.
Mr Chisholm said the fence that he constructed was closer to his garage than a small wooden fence that was in place three years ago when he moved in.
At that time he believed the smaller fence marked the boundary between the two properties.
But when he refused to lower the height of the fence Mr Roberts withdrew this permission and demanded their land back.
The court ruled that the land legally belonged to the Roberts and ordered Mr Chisholm to pull it down.
In court, Mr Chisholm said he did not know he had put the fence over the boundary.
Giving evidence in the hearing, Mr Roberts claimed the 6.5ft fence now restricted his vision when moving out of his drive.
He said: ”I thought it was a very cowardly act with no discussion and no agreement. I was very cross and so was my wife.”
His wife Dr Foreman added: ”It was an aggressive act. We can’t see when we are coming out of our drive now.”
After a two-day hearing Recorder Robin Tolson ruled the fence must be removed, and Mr and Mrs Chisholm were faced with court costs of £19,690.
An injunction was also imposed ordering the removal of the fence by May 9.
Speaking after the case Mr Roberts said: ”We did not want to come to court. But I am very satisfied with the outcome.”