Couple who built fence to block eyesore garages told to tear it down

Couple who built five-foot fence in their driveway to block out eyesore garages beside their home are ordered to tear it down or face a fine up to £20,000

  •  The couple put up the fence outside their home in Mid Calder, West Lothian
  • They have now been told to pull it down or face a £20,000 fine 

A couple who built a five foot tall fence in their driveway to block out eyesore garages next to their home have been ordered to tear it down or face a £20,000 fine.

Michael and Sarah Laing erected the wooden fence outside their home in Mid Calder, near Edinburgh, to shield their garden from the dilapidated lock-ups.

The couple also had concerns a ‘crumbling’ wall in the ‘unkempt’ garages next to their house could become a safety hazard for their young child.

They were however left stunned after West Lothian Council ruled they had built the fence without planning permission before slapping them with an enforcement notice.

The Laings in turn tried to appeal the local authorities decision, by taking the matter to the Scottish Government.

The couple have been told to tear down a fence (pictured) outside their home in the village of Mid Calder near Edinburgh

However, the Scottish government upheld West Lothian council’s decision in ruling the couple must tear the fence down because the fence exceeds the maximum height of one meter. 

Failure to follow an enforcement notice can lead to individuals being taken to court, prosecuted and face a maximum fine of up to £20,000.

In a letter to the government, Mrs Laing said: ‘I am appealing the enforcement notice as I would like someone to visit my property to understand why I had the boundary fence erected at said height.

‘At the time I was unaware that there was a height restriction so it wasn’t my intention to break any rules however my reasons for it are clear.

‘The set of four garages adjacent to my house and driveway are in a significantly poor state of repair, the wall is crumbling, it is unkempt and unsafe for my young child.

The couple put up the five foot fence to shield their garden from dilapidated garages next door

‘More than half of the year the driveway contains a skip and when the skip isn’t there, there’s a poorly parked van.

‘The fence is not overlooking anyone’s property and is at the end of a row of houses, I simply want to block out the mess my garden otherwise would overlook.’

Issuing their notice to have the fence removed, West Lothian Council said: ‘The fence exceeds 1 m in height, therefore, it does not conform to the householder permitted development rights set out in planning legislation.’

Upholding the council decision, government reporter Sue Bell said: ‘I conclude that the fence would not fall within the scope of permitted development and that planning permission would be required.

‘I have considered the appellant’s stated reasons for installation of the fence, but these do not alter the fact that the fence has been installed without the necessary planning permission.

‘I note that the appellant has notified the council that steps are being taken to carry out the actions set out on the notice.’

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