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Residents of Rainham cul-de-sac demand council action on walls that block driver visibility

PUBLISHED: 14:00 02 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:45 09 March 2017

The two six-foot high walls at a house in Wilfred Avenue, Rainham.

The two six-foot high walls at a house in Wilfred Avenue, Rainham.

Cllr David Durant

The council has inadvertently found itself in the middle of a neighbour dispute over two-metre high antisocial walls.

The two six-foot high walls at a house in Wilfred Avenue, Rainham.The two six-foot high walls at a house in Wilfred Avenue, Rainham.

When John Tovee’s neighbours moved into a house in Wilfred Avenue, Rainham, the two walls were erected shortly after.

Mr Tovee, 78, and wife Dorothy, 73 objected along with 20 other neighbours of the cul-de-sac who signed a petition and turned to Cllr David Durant (Independent Residents Group, Rainham and Wennington) for help.

“Everybody who comes here say’s its disgusting,” said Mr Tovee.

“They ask what’s going on?”

Planning documents show the council refused an application by the owners of the property – who the Recorder has approached for comment – in May last year.

Documents show an appeal was submitted but also refused by the Planning Inspectorate on January 17, which stated the walls would “severely obstruct visibility” to drivers carrying out a reversing manoeuvre resulting in significant danger to pedestrians.

Yet despite both refusals, the walls are still in place.

A spokeswoman for Havering Council said: “The council has informed the owner that in light of the appeal decision, the height of the front part of the walls needs to be reduced and the owner has agreed to reduce the walls.

“If the walls are not reduced in height, the council will serve an enforcement notice in due course requiring that the work be carried out.

“Failure to comply with a notice would be an offence.”

But Cllr Durant said: “Its not acceptable.

“I’m puzzled that the council is acting on previous legal advice [that only the part of the wall nearest to the road be lowered].

“That has been superseded by the Planning Inspectorate.

“I am going to submit a motion to the council to tell the owner to lower the entire length of the wall or remove it completely.”

Mr Tovee added that his elderly neighbour who lives the other side of the wall, is also directly affected.

“It’s about a foot from her front window,” he continued.

“It blocks all her light.”

The spokeswoman added that despite the fact that the appeal was dismissed in January, the council was giving Ms Warde a “sufficient” amount of time to reduce the height of the walls before issuing a notice.

“When dealing with planning enforcement, it is held in law that the council should seek to remedy the harm caused,” she said.

“In the case of these walls the harm is the danger caused by their height close to the highway.”

She added that the council hoped to make a decision around the middle of next month, but that nothing was confirmed.

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