Neighbour erected a fence

30 Jul 2014
Reaction score
United Kingdom

A friend in the area (call him Alfred to protect the innocent) is struggling to deal with a neighbour.

The neighbour submitted a planning application to build a significant ground and 1st floor front extension. This was recently refused as it was out of character and detrimental to the light of the neighbouring occupiers (ie Alfred). Of course the neighbour can appeal or submit a further application.

Just before the planning application was refused the neighbour placed a 1m wooden fence on top of the existing side boundary wall at the front (see photos). The wall is 1.09m and with the fence panels the boundary is 2.09m.

This fence is an eye-sore and blocks Alfred's light etc. and Alfred wants it removed. Alfred believes the fence is a ruse - if the fence is already blocking the light/view then an extension can not be refused for blocking the same light/view.

The neighbour has not discussed the planning application or the change to the boundary height.

Alfred invited the council's enforcement team to review the matter of the fence- The council states that 2m is the max height, but the extra 9cm is not sufficient to warrant enforcement action from the council.

I am wondering what the best next action is in regard to the unwanted wooden fence panels?

The wall that the fence sits upon provides a boundary - this wall is aligned and integrated with the side wall of Alfred's detached garage. My logic is that Alfred must "own" the wall - or at the very least it is a party wall. Can a neighbour decide to raise the height of a boundary in this manner?

What should Alfred do next to get the fence panels removed?

Re the photos:
Fence1 - is taken from Alfred's upstairs window. The building to the left is his garage. The vegetation forms part of Alfred's front garden. The neigbour's house is to the right. The proposal would have resulted in a rear door being inserted about where the waste bin is located.

Fence2 - is taken from Alfred's front garden. His front door is just in view to the right.



  • Fence1.png
    439.8 KB · Views: 382
  • Fence2.png
    253.6 KB · Views: 340
Last edited:
Sponsored Links
Forget logic, who owns the wall? If the neighbour owns the wall there is nothing you can do about it. If Alfred owns the wall then the neighbour must remove the fence. Though he could just build it right behind the wall anyway.

I think it looks better with the fence and I cannot see why it could be construed that the fence blocks any light there’s a bloody great brick wall right behind it. The planners will still determine the application on its merits and why would the first floor not still be detrimental? This fence makes no difference to an extension at first floor level.
Any planning applications being decided on their own merits is very much what the planning officer has said.

Alfred wants to have the view from the downstairs front windows out into the street between the garage and the neighbour's house.

I agree that it comes down to who owns the wall? As I said this will be either Alfred owns it, or it is a party wall and jointly owned.

Either way,l what is the best for Alfred to assert his rights over the wall?

My thoughts are
1) Alfred could unilaterally remove the wooden panels and deposit them on the neighbour's side of the wall.
2) Alfred could engage a solicitor to establish legal ownership of the wall- have a letter written and potentially go to court
3) Alfred could engage a party wall surveyor - but how would they approach it?

Which route is the best advice at this stage?

Sponsored Links
Should be a simple matter of looking at the deed plan. The flank wall of Alfred's detached garage is likely to be built up against the boundary in which case it would seem the boundary wall in dispute is also build up against the boundary and would therefore be Alfred's property and the neighbour has no right to fix the fence panels to it. The other alternative is the walls are built astride the boundary and as such could be party walls but neighbour still cannot unilaterally fix the fence panels to the wall.

Ultimately Alfred is likely to be disappointed as he has no right to the view between his garage and neighbour's house so as Freddy said the neighbour could erect a fence on his side of the wall. I too do not think the fence is all that unsightly and does not contribute towards loss of light given the proximity of the neighbour's house.
There's no question of whom owns the wall. If you look at type of brickwork on the wall, and the garage, and then compare it to next doors property, then it definitely belongs to Alfred, and the neighbour had no right to erect it.

I assume that the neighbour is proposing to extend his property into his ally way, in which case Alfred would lose some of the light he currently enjoys in the downstairs room; but would this be sufficient to get the planning application refused. I suspect the neighbour trying to move his house closer to Alfreds would, and therefore closing him in, would be more of an issue.
A fence has no bearing on any application of rules regarding light or sight lines. So it can't be a ruse for that purpose.

Planning permission is required for a fence higher that 2m from the highest natural ground next to the fence.

The boundary position and actual ownership of the wall (not responsibility for maintaining the boundary) is crucial, but it's not a planning issue, rather a civil matter.
I'd attack it from a different angle. At this stage you need not prove anything, just be ready to do so if your bluff is called.

- Assert ownership of the wall
- tell them that planning enforcement states it needs planning and does not have any.
- state as its your property and they have placed you in breach of planning law, you will take steps to have it removed withing 14 days.
- invite them to perhaps place a fence that does not need planning on their land.

This keeps it a civil dispute and avoid the neighbour getting the police involved with allegations of criminal damage.

Irrelevant of the wall ownership they had no authority to fix a post to his garage
The neighbour has almost certainly ereceted the wall in the wrong place. But there's nothing to stop them moving it 4 inches over to the right place. I can't see what escalation of the dispute achieves.
It wont be quite so easy to erect the fence free standing, it would need to come in from the wall a fair bit and they'd lose some of the width of the path. Personally, I can see why they want a fence, but its for them to erect it on their land. Unfortunately, doing nothing ultimately ends up in the neighbour (after some years) acquiring a right.
The OP is under the assumption that they've put up the fence to strengthen their case for extending their property closer to his, and if he's right, then they're already intending to lose their path anyway. As they have no right to erect the fence on Alfred's wall, if they really want a fence for genuine reasons, then they'll have to sink the posts on their property, not his.

As the wall belongs to Alfred, if he leaves it there, then fence becomes his as well.

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.

Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local

Sponsored Links