A man is embroiled in a row with council after being ordered to demolish a six foot wall around his house.
Garden products manufacturer Mark Roberts built the wall in front of his house in 2020 for its “privacy and security” and paid £5,000 to complete the project.
An unruly eight-foot conifer tree once stood there and jutted through its old wall and into the sidewalk, so the 62-year-old thought nothing of the new wall he had built.
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But now the frustrated former coal miner has denounced council over plans to tear down the wall that protects his garden and home, WalesOnline reports.
The council wrote to Mark in October 2021, almost two years after the wall was built, telling him that someone had complained about the height of his wall. Following inspections by council officers, he was then told that the wall had to be demolished.
Mark said he didn’t know he needed planning permission when he built the wall.
“The wall is three years old this month and I had a huge evergreen hedge there,” Mark explained. “I took everything apart because the wall was collapsing and it was getting dangerous. So then I built the wall – nice solid wall, I didn’t think about it, and then we got a letter from the council saying someone had reported it.
“I was really shocked because the wall had been up for quite some time. I’m not the only one who has a wall like this either. I’ve been walking around the estate and there are a lot of walls like that and they’ve never had a problem.
“Another wall has been built across the road – a beautiful wall but of a similar height to mine. But because no one reported him, he’s fine. If I reported all the people with high walls around here they would experience the same thing, but I would never do that, that’s not me.
“I asked all my neighbors and none of them objected. They had letters from council asking if they wanted to oppose it, but none of them did.
“Council told me to apply retrospectively for the wall, which I did. It cost me an extra £240 to put it up and then they told me it had been turned down.
Mark said he felt he had no choice but to keep a boundary around his house for security reasons. “We had problems with things missing from the garden, children running in and out of the garden. We had syringes in the hedges, cans of beer. It was ridiculous.”
Running out of options, Mark decided to call on the government department Planning and Environmental Decisions Wales (PEDW). “I called PEDW and they came for a week last Monday,” he recalls. “I could approach the gentleman and tell him who I was, but I couldn’t talk to him about concerns.”
This week, Mark learned that his appeal was largely successful. The inspector concludes: “I see no point in demanding the demolition of the wall in its entirety, only that a lower wall built with the same materials as those used on the main dwelling be immediately erected as a development right. Therefore, and in the context that the enforcement process should be remedial rather than punitive, I conclude that the notice requirements are excessive in this case. I will therefore modify the requirements of the notice to include the possibility of reducing the height of these elements of the wall.
Responding to the news, Mark said: “I am happy with this result. It’s better than saying “take everything apart”, isn’t it? Initially, they wanted me to tear it down, so it’s moving forward. I’m not as drained as I thought. We now have two months to modify it. I have to reduce it to a meter in height, so I almost reduced it to half. I feel like I won but I also feel like I lost a bit.
Caerphilly Council has been contacted for comment.
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