A woman has ruined the view from her neighbours’ £1million home by putting up a huge fence inches from their windows – but insists she is not the “arch villain”.
Kate Chubb, 52, has now got Government approval for the wooden fence on the edge of her six-acre plot that she says is needed to protect cows who graze on her land.
She said it stopped them from potentially harming themselves by coming into contact with the windows as they shelter.
But neighbours Anthony and Janice Hemms say the fence comes within four inches of three of their windows at Papermill Cottage at St Catherine, near Bath, Somerset. And where they once had an attractive view across fields they can now see nothing but the fence.
The Hemms appealed to have it taken down – but the Planning Inspectorate has now ruled it can stay provided it does not go higher than two metres. Mrs Hemms, 63, said she and her husband, 61, were “disappointed, shocked and really appalled” at the ruling.
She added: “I didn’t think for a moment this would be the result, I thought it was common sensical.”
Local parish council chairman Donald MacIntyre said: “It’s pretty ridiculous. As far as the parish is concerned it is an unnecessary and unhappy situation which we would like to see resolved and this planning appeal has not resolved this issue at all.”
But Ms Chubb, a single mother who has lived in her property since 2011, hit back at being branded the “arch villain”. She said: “I’m sure you have been encouraged to believe I’m the arch villain – I look like it, but I’m not.
“Although it looks pretty horrendous, the whole thing, unfortunately, I don’t feel the cause of that fence. I’m a single mum and I’ve had to go along and put something up there like I’m the Hungarian government putting up a border patrol when I’m not.”
Ms Chubb said up to ten cows of various breeds belonging to a neighbouring farmer take shelter from the elements in the lee of the Hemms’ property.
She erected the fence in 2015 and Bath and North East Somerset Council issued an enforcement notice ordering it to be removed. Mrs Chubb appealed against that order and was backed by the Planning Inspectorate, which ruled the fence to be “permitted development”.
The judgment from inspector Peter Drew said: “The structure harms the living conditions of the occupiers of Papermill Cottage by reason of loss of outlook and daylight.”
But he concluded: “I have no reason to doubt that the Appellant’s motivation was to safeguard the tenant’s cattle. There can be no doubt that a means of enclosure can be erected up to two metres high along this boundary.”