Husband and wife councillors told to take down fence...by their colleagues

Southend Standard: The fence The fence

A COUPLE who are both councillors have had their attempts to keep a 6ft fence around their garden kicked out...by fellow councillors!

Barbara Rice, Thurrock 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 the neighbours not being bothered.

Mrs Rice said it had always been the couple’s intention to take the fence down once shrubs behind had grown enough to secure the garden, but she claims the hedge is still too short to offer any protection for their grandchildren.

Mrs Rice said: “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.”

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

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

“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.”

One neighbour, Fran Proctor, 43, of Heath Road, said he didn’t know what all the fuss was about and reckons 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 Rices 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.

At the council’s latest 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 (14)

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4:25pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Southend Andy says...

Typical Labour councillors think they are above the law.
Typical Labour councillors think they are above the law. Southend Andy

4:49pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Dan-Hockley says...

Why, oh why, do people in a position of power/authority think that rules are only there for the masses?

The planning law says they can't have them, so why try?

And as for the fact that they are worried about their grandchildren ... seriously, when will old people stop using grandkids as an excuse?! Grandchildren are no more special than any other child or person on this planet (except me of course :-) :-) ) ... so why do older people think they are a justification for such things?

What protection do their grandchildren need more than any other child - and how often are their grandchildren in their garden.

As you can probably guess, I get really sick of people using grandchildren as an excuse.
Why, oh why, do people in a position of power/authority think that rules are only there for the masses? The planning law says they can't have them, so why try? And as for the fact that they are worried about their grandchildren ... seriously, when will old people stop using grandkids as an excuse?! Grandchildren are no more special than any other child or person on this planet (except me of course :-) :-) ) ... so why do older people think they are a justification for such things? What protection do their grandchildren need more than any other child - and how often are their grandchildren in their garden. As you can probably guess, I get really sick of people using grandchildren as an excuse. Dan-Hockley

5:08pm Mon 30 Dec 13

John Bull 40 says...

Are they concrete posts holding the panels? If so it is hardly temporary.
Are they concrete posts holding the panels? If so it is hardly temporary. John Bull 40

5:10pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Nowthatsworthknowing says...

What on earth are they trying to hide ? nudist colony ??
What on earth are they trying to hide ? nudist colony ?? Nowthatsworthknowing

5:29pm Mon 30 Dec 13

niki-loo says...

i'm a bit confused? why are the not allowed a fence??
i'm a bit confused? why are the not allowed a fence?? niki-loo

5:34pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Nowthatsworthknowing says...

niki-loo wrote:
i'm a bit confused? why are the not allowed a fence??
DoH .... because it's TOO HIGH....
[quote][p][bold]niki-loo[/bold] wrote: i'm a bit confused? why are the not allowed a fence??[/p][/quote]DoH .... because it's TOO HIGH.... Nowthatsworthknowing

5:40pm Mon 30 Dec 13

niki-loo says...

Nowthatsworthknowing wrote:
niki-loo wrote:
i'm a bit confused? why are the not allowed a fence??
DoH .... because it's TOO HIGH....
too high for peeping toms?!
[quote][p][bold]Nowthatsworthknowing[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]niki-loo[/bold] wrote: i'm a bit confused? why are the not allowed a fence??[/p][/quote]DoH .... because it's TOO HIGH....[/p][/quote]too high for peeping toms?! niki-loo

5:47pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Nowthatsworthknowing says...

niki-loo wrote:
Nowthatsworthknowing wrote:
niki-loo wrote:
i'm a bit confused? why are the not allowed a fence??
DoH .... because it's TOO HIGH....
too high for peeping toms?!
Too high for a residential road, note the term residential, this is not an industrial retail park....DoH.
[quote][p][bold]niki-loo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Nowthatsworthknowing[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]niki-loo[/bold] wrote: i'm a bit confused? why are the not allowed a fence??[/p][/quote]DoH .... because it's TOO HIGH....[/p][/quote]too high for peeping toms?![/p][/quote]Too high for a residential road, note the term residential, this is not an industrial retail park....DoH. Nowthatsworthknowing

7:47pm Mon 30 Dec 13

profondo asbo says...

up to 2 metres should be fine and those panels are certainly not higher. it is their back garden after all.
up to 2 metres should be fine and those panels are certainly not higher. it is their back garden after all. profondo asbo

8:23pm Mon 30 Dec 13

LastLaugh,,, says...

profondo asbo wrote:
up to 2 metres should be fine and those panels are certainly not higher. it is their back garden after all.
Brother can you spare conifers
[quote][p][bold]profondo asbo[/bold] wrote: up to 2 metres should be fine and those panels are certainly not higher. it is their back garden after all.[/p][/quote]Brother can you spare conifers LastLaugh,,,

9:15pm Mon 30 Dec 13

profondo asbo says...

LastLaugh,,, wrote:
profondo asbo wrote:
up to 2 metres should be fine and those panels are certainly not higher. it is their back garden after all.
Brother can you spare conifers
got brown envelopes?
[quote][p][bold]LastLaugh,,,[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]profondo asbo[/bold] wrote: up to 2 metres should be fine and those panels are certainly not higher. it is their back garden after all.[/p][/quote]Brother can you spare conifers[/p][/quote]got brown envelopes? profondo asbo

10:12pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Britanniaman says...

I had to see this on Google Earth to see how bad it was but it looks ok to me and yeah its only around the garden also the pics on Google Earth looks like when it was being put up.
must have Councillors who don't like them iv seen higher fences around caravan's sites up the A127 and roads leading of with no permission.
I had to see this on Google Earth to see how bad it was but it looks ok to me and yeah its only around the garden also the pics on Google Earth looks like when it was being put up. must have Councillors who don't like them iv seen higher fences around caravan's sites up the A127 and roads leading of with no permission. Britanniaman

2:50am Thu 2 Jan 14

Kim Gandy says...

Just highlights the usual ****, backstabbing and bellyaching that goes on among politicians from opposing sides.

Another reason why I have washed my hands of party politics.
Just highlights the usual ****, backstabbing and bellyaching that goes on among politicians from opposing sides. Another reason why I have washed my hands of party politics. Kim Gandy

2:51am Thu 2 Jan 14

Kim Gandy says...

since when was the word " b i t c h i n g " a swear word?
since when was the word " b i t c h i n g " a swear word? Kim Gandy

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