Reflexologist ordered to tear down £2,500 fence

A planning inspector have given Emma Stephens six months to remove a fence from Marston Lane

A planning inspector have given Emma Stephens six months to remove a fence from Marston Lane - Credit: Google

A reflexologist has been given six months to tear down a fence that she put up around her property without planning permission.

When Emma Stephens bought a house on Marston Lane in Eaton in 2018, she was keen to add an extra level of privacy to the property, so put up a fence - not realising she needed planning permission.

However, after a neighbour complained to Norwich City Council about the project, enforcement action was taken, ordering it to be taken down - with the council arguing it had enclosed land that did not belong to her. 

Mrs Stephens though, says the fence was built along the same perimeter that was marked out by the property's previous owner.

Now, after Mrs Stephens lost an appeal against the notice, a planning inspector has given her six months to take it down.

Mrs Stephens, who runs a reflexology business from her home, said: "The whole ordeal has been very stressful - all I wanted to do was have a bit of extra privacy and secure my garden for my cocker spaniel, Monty.

"The amount of money and the amount of time that has gone into this, for me and for the council, is just so frustrating."

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Mrs Stephens said the fence cost £2,500, while two refused retrospective planning applications had cost her around £1,000 combined - and that she was now faced with paying legal fees on top of this.

The council argued the fence enclosed a piece of land that belonged to City Hall - and that it was not in keeping with the character of the area.

In his report ruling in the council's favour, inspector Paul Freer acknowledged Mrs Stephens' desire for privacy and that a number of neighbours had supported the addition of the fence - arguing that the hedge there previously was "an eyesore".

However, he upheld the council's decision and gave her six months to remove the fence and find alternative boundary treatment.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: "We are pleased the planning inspector has supported our view that the fence eroded the openness of this prominent corner and harmed the character of the area.

“This case shows the city council is prepared to take enforcement action where necessary, while making sure any action is proportionate to the issue at hand."