Homeowner told to demolish £12k garden wall as it is '20cm too high'

Furious homeowner is ordered to demolish his £12,000 garden wall because the council said it was 20cm too high (even though it’s smaller than the last one) – after ONE person complained

  • Bear Mason, 74, said he and his ‘mortified’ wife do not have the money to rebuild 

A furious homeowner has been ordered to demolish his new £12,000 garden wall because it was 20cm too high – even though it is actually shorter than the previous one.

Bear Mason, who lives in the village of Greenhead in Northumberland, built the 4ft sandstone wall this summer to replace his tatty and broken-down fence which was 6ft tall.

The retired mathematics teacher, 74, purposely built the wall lower than the original fence but made it too high for people to sit on for safety reasons in case they toppled over the steep drop.

Council officials have ordered him to demolish the wall unless they lower it ‘by eight inches’ following a single complaint. However, Mr Mason said he and his wife Sharon are pensioners and do not have the money to rebuild.

They added that they have a ‘good idea’ about the ‘strange’ person who complained to the council.

Bear Mason (left), standing by his wall outside his home in the village of Greenhead 

A look at Mr  Mason’s new £12,000 4ft garden wall that’s set to be ‘bulldozed’ by the council

The 74-year-old pensioner replaced this tatty and broken-down fence which was 6ft tall

‘This summer we paid £12,000 on a beautiful new wall between our garden and the road,’ he said.

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‘It is lower than the rickety fence it replaced. Northumberland County Council have told us that they are now going to bulldoze it down unless we pay to have it lowered by eight inches.

‘The wooden fence was 1.8m high and was falling to bits, and it was liable to collapse in high winds.

‘We built the wall it to a height of 1.2m externally for health and safety reasons as internally there is a 2m drop into the garden, onto rocks

‘At 1.2m walkers and drunk people cannot sit on it, and topple over but at 1m high, which is the planning stipulation, the situation is far more perilous.

‘Because the wooden fence was much taller than it’s stone replacement, we had no idea it or the new wall would contravene their regulations.

‘We are pensioners. We don’t have £12,000 to rebuild it. 

‘Our wall is so much nicer than what was there before and safe. We are mortified.

‘Ironic too that we live in what’s called Hadrian’s Wall Country.

‘We have a good idea about who complained to the council and they have some strange ideas.

‘Most of the fences and walls in the village are above 6ft in height but because they have stood for more than four years they are exempt from the planning laws. The whole thing is barmy.’

Northumberland County Council said there was a complaint about the height of this new wall

A look at the construction process as Mr Mason’s old battered fence wall was pulled down

A spokesperson from Northumberland County Council said: ‘We were made aware that a wall had been built at this property without planning permission.

‘On further inspection it was found to be attached to a listed bridge. For that reason it is not acceptable and we have asked that it is removed.

‘We have also given the householder the option to reduce it in height to one metre and remove it from the listed bridge.’

Mr Mason and his wife have agreed to disconnect the wall from a Grade I-listed bridge and will apply for retrospective planning permission to retain their wall at its current height. 

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