Height of a front garden fence?

Height of a front garden fence?

Postby Roy22 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:06 pm

I need to replace an old hedge with a new front garden fence between myself and my neighbour whose front garden is parallel to mine. I’d like to make it 4 feet high (1 ft Gravel board + 3 ft Wooden panel) as widely seen in this area and everywhere. Googling the subject, this national government planning advice comes up a lot:

You will need to apply for planning permission if you wish to erect or add to a fence, wall or gate and:

It would be over 1 metre high and next to a highway used by vehicles (or the footpath of such a highway); or over 2 metres high elsewhere; etc.


But 4 foot would be 1.2 metres, over the 1 metre limit, implying planning consent needed. My front garden is at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac. The new fence would run towards the road and stop with a pathway between the property/fence boundary’s end and the road-end ahead. Reference to height limits seem to be related to limiting the road view of passing cars (not an issue at the end of a cul-de-sac) and refer to the front fence being ‘next to’ or ‘adjacent to’ such a road, but without quite defining these meanings.

Phoning the Council today, the guy seemed to think that the 1 metre rule wouldn’t apply in our case, but obviously phone advice is always a little iffy.

Meanwhile, 4 foot (total) front fences are everywhere and almost everyone has a road near such a front fence. Can anyone definitely say if a 4 foot (1.2m) fence is likely to be OK?
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby Collaborate » Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:05 am

You'll be subject to the 2m rule for the fence at the side, but 1m only applies to that part of the fence that abuts the highway. If you're that worried about it you could always taper its height down to 1m where it meets the front boundary.
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:16 am

Collaborate wrote:You'll be subject to the 2m rule for the fence at the side, but 1m only applies to that part of the fence that abuts the highway. If you're that worried about it you could always taper its height down to 1m where it meets the front boundary.
or just put your four foot fence up and take 21cm off the panel nearest the pavement if the council bother to come a calling.
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby Roy22 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:22 am

Collaborate wrote:You'll be subject to the 2m rule for the fence at the side, but 1m only applies to that part of the fence that abuts the highway. If you're that worried about it you could always taper its height down to 1m where it meets the front boundary.


Thanks for the reply. Having carried on googling, I think you're right that it'd be the final 6ft long panel meeting the highway (pavement) which could need planning approval if over 1 meter. I had thought it was the (irrelevant to a culdesac) issue of traffic losing sight of each other due to higher fences in some road layouts; I've since read a more plausible explanation that it could relate to a driver's reduced vision emerging from a driveway.

I ve also learnt my OH who asked the Council on my behalf didn't get the assurance they first claimed (!) - they just read the above official guidance notes. I note you say ' If you're that worried' etc. Do you think I'm worrying about nothing?
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby Roy22 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:26 am

MacadamB53 wrote:
Collaborate wrote:You'll be subject to the 2m rule for the fence at the side, but 1m only applies to that part of the fence that abuts the highway. If you're that worried about it you could always taper its height down to 1m where it meets the front boundary.
or just put your four foot fence up and take 21cm off the panel nearest the pavement if the council bother to come a calling.


Thanks for your reply similar to the other poster's. If I did as you say, removing the 1 foot gravel board from the last panel if the Council did complain, would the remaining concrete post height breach the rules?
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:42 am

Hi Roy22,

firstly, I think you're worrying about nothing and would just put the four foot fence up.

in the unlikely scenario your LPA 1. become aware of the issue 2. consider it a breach 3. think its worth their time and 4. have the time, I'd leave the gravel board in place and just saw a bit off the panel.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby Roy22 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:22 am

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi Roy22,

firstly, I think you're worrying about nothing and would just put the four foot fence up.

in the unlikely scenario your LPA 1. become aware of the issue 2. consider it a breach 3. think its worth their time and 4. have the time, I'd leave the gravel board in place and just saw a bit off the panel.

Kind regards, Mac


Dear Mac,

Many thanks for your reassurances. I realise that the difference between 1m & 1.2m height for the last panel probably wouldn't get many LPA hearts pounding, and that likewise half the fences around me would also break the 1m rule, although I accept that isn't a defense if challenged. I was asking more from the angle that the neighbour the other side has been a minor nuisance about a number of boundary issues, and could just try to make something of it one day if otherwise aggrieved.

It's a shame that 1m became the rule when the 4ft/1.2m combo (1' gravel+3' panel) is almost the default standard everywhere. Panels under 3ft tall are rare (though do exist) and likewise few would stand their new wood panels on damp soil without gravel boards only to watch them rot away from ground upwards.

I agree that I could comply if ever challenged by finding or making a slightly less tall panel. In that scenario, would any LPA ever be petty enough to also demand that 20cm be likewise be cut off the last one/two concrete posts? It would be messy if I did as I wouldn't really want to dig them up and set new shorter ones.

Cheers,

Roy.
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby arborlad » Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:05 am

Roy22 wrote:I had thought it was the (irrelevant to a culdesac) issue of traffic losing sight of each other due to higher fences in some road layouts; I've since read a more plausible explanation that it could relate to a driver's reduced vision emerging from a driveway.



Those are two reasons but the overall appearance and how it affects the general street scene are also to be considered. Why 12" gravel boards when 6" are the norm?
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:49 am

Hi all,

I'm posting this in the hope one of our planning experts reads it and can respond:

is a fence erected perpendicular to a highway a fence adjacent to a highway?

(I have a fuzzy memory of once reading somewhere that it is not)

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby arborlad » Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:51 am

Roy22 wrote: The new fence would run towards the road and stop with a pathway between the property/fence boundary’s end



Who owns that pathway, could it be considered part of the highway?
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby arborlad » Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:07 am

Collaborate wrote:..but 1m only applies to that part of the fence that abuts the highway..



Abut is a very precise term not really suited to the circumstances, adjacent is usually used to allow for some interpretation.
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby Collaborate » Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:25 am

arborlad wrote:
Roy22 wrote: The new fence would run towards the road and stop with a pathway between the property/fence boundary’s end



Who owns that pathway, could it be considered part of the highway?


I think the next few words clear this up

...and the road end ahead


I think OP means the pavement, given what is beyond the path is the road.

To answer Mac's question, this is in para 7.11 of the of this judgment: http://www.rbwm.gov.uk/public/meetings_ ... _02686.doc (note - this is a word document)
Enforcement action was taken against a front boundary wall including the return to its sides. The wall was 1.19m in height and it was not argued that this was permitted development along the frontage. The local authority contended that the flank walls were caught by the 1m rule as well. The Inspector examined the question in some detail and concluded that the Council's interpretation would create an illogical result meaning that walls at some considerable distance from the highway would be limited to 1m. He concluded that the term ‘adjacent’ should be interpreted as excluding walls which did no more than meet the highway at one point;
The committee is reviewing a number of other decided cases. A full read of it would be instructive.

It seems from this judgment (on an application for a certificate of lawfulness) that much depends on the Inspector's view. However in this particular case they did feel that consistency in decision making was important, so decided, in relation to electric gates that came in from the boundary feature perpendicular to it, that fact meant it was PD.
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby Collaborate » Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:26 am

arborlad wrote:
Collaborate wrote:..but 1m only applies to that part of the fence that abuts the highway..



Abut is a very precise term not really suited to the circumstances, adjacent is usually used to allow for some interpretation.


Point taken and accepted.
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:55 am

Hi Collaborate,

Thanks for the info - so an Inspector has said it would be illogical to assert that a fence built perpendicular to a highway is adjacent to said highway because the fence is but a few inches wide when viewed from the highway (ie that is not why the legislation includes the 'adjacent to a highway' limitation).

even more reason for the OP to relax...

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Height of a front garden fence?

Postby Roy22 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:32 pm

Many thanks for the interesting & informed replies here. To answer a few points at once:

My end of the cul-de-sac is round, with all front gardens 'fanning' off it. So my front garden dividing fence like all others faces perpendicularly into the centre of the road's round end (like the petals of a Sunflower point toward the round centre, for example). The Deeds show this design too. The pathway I mentioned is just the normal Council pavement (assume to be classed as 'Highway'?) running along both sides of the cul-de-sac and around its round end. Like anywhere else, it stands between the road and the outer front boundary of all the houses, and is slightly under 2m wide.

The issue of 'adjacent' is very interesting. Elsewhere online it's been simplified to say 'next to' which is much more of a catch-all. The new front fence will go right up to the pavement at the front edge, again like most front garden walls between neighbours. The hedge it's replacing was taller than the intended new fence, but I guess that doesn't count in terms of any 'like for like' allowance? There's no remaining wall at the front of the garden, being removed like most others to allow driveway access.

But the Legal point seeming to exclude side walls is very interesting. I've since found this Council leaflet (not mine):

http://www.broxtowe.gov.uk/media/pdf/o/a/10_Fences__walls_and_gates_2007.pdf

Page 2 clearly shows a side fence exactly like my intended one being counted as needing Planning, saying:

As well as any
wall directly alongside a
highway, the front 2 metres of side
boundary walls are also treated as
‘adjacent to a highway’ for the
purposes of the height rules.


Are the clever people here happy that the aforementioned legal ruling trumps that Council's 2007 advice leaflet?
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