Councillor couple ordered to tear down fence...by their colleagues

Thurrock Gazette: The fence on Heath Road The fence on Heath Road

A COUNCILLOR couple’s attempts to keep a six-foot fence around their garden have been kicked out by their fellow councillors.

Barbara Rice, the council’s deputy leader and husband Gerard, a veteran Labour councillor, breached strict planning regulations by putting up the fence, twice the height its allowed to be, around their home in Orsett Heath in September 2012.

A year on, the couple’s colleagues on the planning committee decided to refuse planning permission, despite more than 60 of Rice’s neighbours not being bothered.

Mrs Rice said she is going to follow suggestions made by planning officers and take the fence down, adding it was always intended to be a temporary measure.

She said: “I would like to thank the many neighbours who have supported me in my endeavour to protect my family’s security and privacy with a fence until a suitable hedge can be established.”

She added: “My fence is getting more publicity than the proposed 350 homes on green belt land just down the road.

“We honestly didn’t know we needed permission before.

“This fence was to protect our garden and we had to have it. Why would we want to go through all this trouble?

One neighbour Fran Proctor, 43, of Heath Road told the Gazette the fence had improved the area. She said: “It’s a fuss over nothing. It’s their back garden. They have their grandchildren over and it keeps them safe. Whoever complained in the first place is an idiot.”

It is not clear what will happen now. As the Rice’s consider their next steps, the council will seek legal advice on whether enforcement should be served.

Mr Rice was forced to resign from his role as the substitute member for the planning scrutiny committee when the issue came to light last year.

And at last Thursday’s planning meeting, Tory Tunde Ojetola said: “I’ve got sympathy for anyone wanting to protect their children, but if these two were not councillors, would we have been a bit more forceful in our comments?

“For Thurrock residents, we need to set an example. I would hope they go away now and just comply. The reality is they should take it down and make it work.”

Comments (6)

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6:23pm Thu 26 Dec 13

rocket1 says...

ejitola has got some cheek,pot and kettle........
ejitola has got some cheek,pot and kettle........ rocket1

7:38pm Thu 26 Dec 13

Bernard 87 says...

Cllr Ojetola is spot on. The fence should be torn down and a fence of permitted height should be put in its place. This couple simply thought they were above the rules.
Cllr Ojetola is spot on. The fence should be torn down and a fence of permitted height should be put in its place. This couple simply thought they were above the rules. Bernard 87

9:31am Fri 27 Dec 13

Dave_ says...

Anyone else and this would have been forced ages ago.
Over the centuries many people have and or had children / grandchildren and have got by without a 6 foot fence. We somehow managed without one and have remained unharmed with respect to our children and or our protection/privacy/s
ecurity. I wonder, is Orsett Heath is such a hotbed of child abduction and or thefts. If they are worried about their children running into the road then maybe educating them in basic road safety might be a good idea.
This was never a temporary measure concrete posts and concrete "gravel boards" with 6 foot lap fence panels is not a temporary thing that you put up to take down a few years later. Well not unless you have money to burn.
Anyone else and this would have been forced ages ago. Over the centuries many people have and or had children / grandchildren and have got by without a 6 foot fence. We somehow managed without one and have remained unharmed with respect to our children and or our protection/privacy/s ecurity. I wonder, is Orsett Heath is such a hotbed of child abduction and or thefts. If they are worried about their children running into the road then maybe educating them in basic road safety might be a good idea. This was never a temporary measure concrete posts and concrete "gravel boards" with 6 foot lap fence panels is not a temporary thing that you put up to take down a few years later. Well not unless you have money to burn. Dave_

9:54am Fri 27 Dec 13

rocket1 says...

i think slapping a bogus weight limit on devonshire road is a lot worse than having a fence a couple of feet to high.
i think slapping a bogus weight limit on devonshire road is a lot worse than having a fence a couple of feet to high. rocket1

10:02pm Fri 27 Dec 13

csmman says...

there goes another few grand in complaints, if it was my house and i wanted a fence there i would have done it,,,F88k you haters. go compliain about something else
there goes another few grand in complaints, if it was my house and i wanted a fence there i would have done it,,,F88k you haters. go compliain about something else csmman

9:26am Sat 28 Dec 13

rocket1 says...

on chafford hundred there is a back garden with a three meter fence,which got permission when the tories were in control.
on chafford hundred there is a back garden with a three meter fence,which got permission when the tories were in control. rocket1

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