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Varying Height Boundary Fence - Simple or Not Simple?

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Varying Height Boundary Fence - Simple or Not Simple?

Postby robinmasters » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:39 pm

Greetings

This may be a silly question, if so, apologies in advance.

At the FRONT of my property, immediately adjoining the road (no pavement, its a country lane, unclassified road) is a long fence.

Approximately 15 metres of it is 1.8m high
Approximately 15 metres of its 1 metre high.

Where the 2 fences meet in the 'middle', they are staggered slightly so one is slight fore of the other (by the width of the post).

My question; according to planning law, planning permission is needed for a fence in excess of 1m on the front boundary.
You can see whats coming....I have a fence of 2 different heights on the front boundary...do I need planning permission to raise the shorter section to match the taller one (because the each section of fence is taken on its own merits), or not -because I already have some 'precedent'.

it may be in my interest to request a LDC, but i am worried about opening up a can of worms that I might avoid. Alternatively, someone might complain.

Some preliminary thoughts would be appreciated.

Apologies if this seems rather trivial.
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Re: Varying Height Boundary Fence - Simple or Not Simple?

Postby dls » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:29 am

My question; according to planning law, planning permission is needed for a fence in excess of 1m on the front boundary.


I am not and never have been a planning lawyer - this is unknown to me.
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Re: Varying Height Boundary Fence - Simple or Not Simple?

Postby tph » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:03 am

You are right to be cautious. You will almost certainly need planning consent to raise the shorter fence. If you approach the LDC they will tell you this. Any planning application will go to the Highway Authority for approval. They may raise other concerns such as the offset of the fence from the edge of the highway.
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Re: Varying Height Boundary Fence - Simple or Not Simple?

Postby diy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:29 am

I can probably save you the £100 by telling you that its unlikely that you'll get approval based on the feedback the highway authority will give to the planning application. Secondly as I understand you can place a fence behind your boundary fence without a problem.

For the cost of the fence and being told to comply, you might want to put a trellis on the 1M fence to bring it to the same height as the 1.8M fence and hope you don't get enforced before the time limit. You can then make an Application for a Lawful Development Certificate, to make your breach legal.
My suggestions are not legal advice
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Re: Varying Height Boundary Fence - Simple or Not Simple?

Postby robinmasters » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:08 am

tph wrote:You are right to be cautious. You will almost certainly need planning consent to raise the shorter fence. If you approach the LDC they will tell you this. Any planning application will go to the Highway Authority for approval. They may raise other concerns such as the offset of the fence from the edge of the highway.


Thank you. Asking is probably the way forward. A couple of further questions..

1. Does anyone have a view on how far from the boundary the fence has to be to not be on the front boundary - the subsequent poster mentions putting a fence behind the front fence, and I wonder if the fence was set back would it no longer be regarded as the front boundary fence?

2. I am looking to add some gates/brick pillars to the existing opening at the end of the short section, set back from the road by 2-2.5 metres - do these fall 'on' the front boundary ??

Interestingly, as the road is unclassified I do not need permission to put an opening in the higher section and could break out there, without asking the Highway Authority, as I am not crossing a pavement etc. I would also not be compelled to put inany visibility splays etc, although they might take the view that a nuisance etc was caused -( I wouldn't do that anyway)
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Re: Varying Height Boundary Fence - Simple or Not Simple?

Postby shootist » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:29 am

The first rule of boundaries: Nothing is ever easy, ever!
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Re: Varying Height Boundary Fence - Simple or Not Simple?

Postby blig » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:41 pm

Does anyone have a view on how far from the boundary the fence has to be to not be on the front boundary - the subsequent poster mentions putting a fence behind the front fence, and I wonder if the fence was set back would it no longer be regarded as the front boundary fence?


Someone near to me has a 1m high fence with a 1.6 m high fence immediately next to it on one side for this very reason. If you're thinking of doing this ask the local authority and confirm in writing that they are OK with this arrangement. It's fine in some but not all cases and it would likely be simpler to ask, rather than to list the various scenarios here.
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Re: Varying Height Boundary Fence - Simple or Not Simple?

Postby theycantdothat » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:06 am

diy wrote:Secondly as I understand you can place a fence behind your boundary fence without a problem.


A common misconception. The rules relate to fences, walls etc whether or not they are on or near the boundary. The relevant law is set out in The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, Schedule 2, Part 2 Class A:

A. Permitted development

The erection, construction, maintenance, improvement or alteration of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure.

A.1 Development not permitted

Development is not permitted by Class A if—

(a) the height of any gate, fence, wall or means of enclosure erected or constructed adjacent to a highway used by vehicular traffic would, after the carrying out of the development, exceed one metre above ground level;

(b) the height of any other gate, fence, wall or means of enclosure erected or constructed would exceed two metres above ground level;

(c) the height of any gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure maintained, improved or altered would, as a result of the development, exceed its former height or the height referred to in sub-paragraph (a) or (b) as the height appropriate to it if erected or constructed, whichever is the greater; or

(d) it would involve development within the curtilage of, or to a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure surrounding, a listed building.


Whether a boundary feature is adjacent to a highway is a question of degree.
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Re: Varying Height Boundary Fence - Simple or Not Simple?

Postby diy » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:39 pm

Simmonds v SSE and Rochdale MDC [1981] seems relevant..

In any case if the fence was not forming a boundary or enclosure then I'd question if it must comply?
My suggestions are not legal advice
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Re: Varying Height Boundary Fence - Simple or Not Simple?

Postby robinmasters » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:05 pm

Gentleman, and Ladies (as appropriate).

Thank you for your considered responses.

After 12-14 hours of research i think I have arrived an answers that are are as precise as the determinations in planning law, made by the Secretary of State, and Courts describe.

Here is a link to the resources used by planning authorities and others:
http://www.planningresource.co.uk/artic ... ection-434

In summary:
Its not so good news for me.
1. The 'short fence behind the tall fence' trick suggested by one poster has been dismissed as subservient in several appeals.
2. Being adjacent to a highway does not mean directly abutting it, but can be upto several metres way, the issue being one of providing separation. Its is not a clear cut issue, as flower beds on a verge can constitute a feature in their own right, and alternatively a fence further than an arms length from the road has been deemed not adjacent. Matters of fact and degree.
3. The issue of visibility splays also impinges, if a fence impedes the required visibility from an access, it may be refused.
4. As a more recent poster mentioned, fences are dealt with according to function, wherever they are i.e. a 2m fence around a tennis court might be acceptable as it would be deemed an enclosure, but in other area, not.

Relevant section is pasted below from the link.

I thank you all for your considerate and helpful comments.

Class A, part 2, schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order 1995 provides that a means of enclosure "erected or constructed adjacent to a highway used by vehicular traffic" is not permitted where it would exceed 1m above ground level. The term "adjacent" is not defined. However, I think that the height limit may stem from the condition that is often applied to prevent visual obstructions of more than 1m in height within a visibility splay. So it would seem reasonable that a means of enclosure exceeding 1m in height and located more than 2.4m back from the edge of the highway should not be considered "adjacent". What is your advice? Presumably a hedge exceeding 1m in height would not be considered "erected or constructed"? JW.

As you say, "adjacent" is not defined in the Order. There is no guidance on how near a fence needs to be to the highway for it to be considered "adjacent". This is a matter of fact and degree and has been the subject of various appeals, as discussed in Development Control Practice 12.31. All that is clear is that a wall or fence does not have to touch the edge of a highway to be considered adjacent. It may be some distance back provided it is close enough to maintain the perceived function of forming a boundary between a highway and a property. Distances of up to 6m have been held to be adjacent. Neither is there any guidance on what constitutes the edge of a highway for this purpose. While part 6, schedule 2 on the operation of the 25m rule refers to the metalled part of any road, inspectors have ruled that a highway can include grass verges. The primary purpose behind the limitation is clearly to safeguard satisfactory sightlines at junctions. Where sightlines are not affected by the means of enclosure, it could be argued that the structure should be treated as permitted development if it is less than 2m high. As hedges are not development, they are beyond the scope of the Order. PM.
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