DC Casebook: Householder Development - Owner allowed to retain garden walling

An inspector has quashed an enforcement notice directed against a front boundary wall at a house in Lincolnshire, reasoning that attitudes had changed considerably since the open-plan estate was built in the 1980s.

The inspector considered that the wall was of a plain and inoffensive design but accepted that it was a large and prominent feature in the street scene. He recognised that the openness of the area had been eroded by trees, hedges and other features, but still felt that the wall presented a harsh appearance at odds with its surroundings.

In his experience, however, changes to layouts originally intended to be open plan were frequently tolerated or actively welcomed by residents. At the hearing, local residents suggested that open vistas were far less important than the definition of private defensible space. They described problems arising from trespass, litter, urination, vandalism and pilfering and cited dog fouling as a prevalent concern.

The inspector concluded that the local authority's stance of maintaining the open-plan nature of the estate had many critics and few supporters. In that light, he decided that the benefits conferred by the development were sufficient to outweigh the relatively minor harm caused by it.

Inspector: Clive Wilkinson; Hearing

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