Award-winning gardeners told to pull down fence

Susan and James Ward in the garden of their home in West Leigh. '''Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (132396-4)

Susan and James Ward in the garden of their home in West Leigh. '''Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132396-4)

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A COUPLE who put up a fence in their front garden to stop anti-social behaviour have been ordered to pull it down.

Sue and Jim Ward put up a fence in front of the flat they own a flat in Wakeford’s Way, West Leigh, which is in a block where the freehold is owned by Portsmouth City Council.

Directly in front of the flat is a bus stop which was a hot spot for anti-social behaviour and people would throw litter and cigarette butts into the front garden.

When they put up the fence, in January, the problems stopped.

They even won a gardening competition from Portsmouth City Council for the work they had done in the front garden.

But now they’ve been told to pull it down because it breaks the rules.

Mrs Ward, 62, said: ‘When we moved in it was just flat land outside.

‘We decided to put some plants in but they were pulled up by children.

‘People threw their cigarette ends in as they waited at the bus stop.

‘But that stopped when we put the fence up and it also acted as a buffer to the noise and the fumes from the buses.

‘It’s similar to lots of other fences on the estate and cost more than £100. We didn’t realise we couldn’t do it.

‘It doesn’t contravene the planning laws with Havant Borough Council, it’s just that Portsmouth City Council don’t want us to do it.

‘What is ridiculous is we won a gardening award from them in July.

‘The other neighbours in the block all say how nice it is.

‘We intend to fight this.’

The couple have asked if they can submit a retrospective application but the council has refused.

In a statement Nicola Blackburn, leasehold estate manager for the council, said: ‘We have spoken with Mr Ward previously about his rights to use the communal garden that is next to his property, and are sorry to hear that there has been a problem with litter and anti-social behaviour from a nearby bus stop.

‘We are more than happy to work with him towards finding a solution to this.

‘However residents have no legal right to erect a fence with a gate on communal land without permission, and by doing so Mr Ward has breached his lease.

‘Portsmouth City Council manages and maintains communal areas including gardens and their boundaries for the benefit of all residents who live in residential blocks.’

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