Housebuilder cannot raise the height of border fence on South Ribble development

Councillors decided that the fence at the back of a handful of houses on the new estate should not be raised
Councillors decided that the fence at the back of a handful of houses on the new estate should not be raised
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A developer has been told that it cannot change the height of a fence between its new estate and a public footpath, because of concerns over crime and anti-social behaviour.

Bellway Homes wanted to almost double the height of the boundary treatment behind three properties on its Grey Gables Farm development, which is currently being built on Brindle Road in Bamber Bridge.

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The change would have seen the fence increase from 1.8m to 3m. Various other amendments were proposed to the materials which separate parts of the border would be made from, because of “supply issues”.

The footpath separates the new estate from existing properties on Stephendale Avenue. The boundary of these houses would have been unchanged and there are no existing properties directly opposite the proposed 3m high fence.

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But according to a member of the Brindle Road Action Group (BRAG), which has campaigned against aspects of the development since it was first proposed, the new fencing would have left current and future residents at risk.

“The fact that there are no existing properties is exactly why there would be no natural surveillance on this 25m stretch [of the footpath],” Peter Carter told a meeting of South Ribble Borough Council’s planning committee.

“Anti-social behaviour is all around us and we should be designing sites which make it difficult to happen”.

Cllr Jim Marsh, who represents the Coupe Green and Gregson Lane ward on the authority, said he would “leave it to the imaginations” of committee members about what would happen if the footpath was not overlooked by residents.

“At present, it is an open plan area and the locals can and do keep an eye out for each other,” Cllr Marsh said.

The development was given the go-ahead by a planning inspector last year, after South Ribble Borough Council originally rejected the application.

Committee member Barrie Yates, who spoke at the planning inquiry, said members only needed to consider the police’s view of the original proposal.

“The ‘design out crime’ officer at Lancashire Constabulary said the [original plan] would provide a deterrent against casual intrusion at the curtilage of the properties and provide security and surveillance,” Cllr Yates said.

“If we don’t go with what the police said, we’ll be opening ourselves up to other applicants [claiming] that they don’t need a police report.”

The committee voted by a majority to approve the proposed changes elsewhere on the estate boundary, but with a condition which ruled out the one relating to a change of fence height.