Fury at 20ft high metal racking that looks like a 'rollercoaster'

Couple’s fury as timber yard erects 20ft high metal racking that looks like a ‘rollercoaster’ at the end of their garden that they say has ruined the countryside view from their new £325,000 home

  • Jenny Mason and Stuart Dodd are angry at the metal racking behind their home
  • The couple say the ‘monstrosity’ is ruining the enjoyment of their new garden
  • It has been put up months after they bought their new home in Roundham, Essex
  • They claim a local timber yard put the structure up with no planning permission

A couple have hit out at ‘disgusting’ 20ft high metal racking which they say has ruined the view of the countryside from their new home.

Jenny Mason and Stuart Dodd said they were treated to a lovely view of trees and distant fields when they moved into their £325,000 semi-detached house in April. 

But the couple are now furious after a 118ft long row of metal racking that looks like a ‘rollercoaster’ was put up on the other side of their fence in Roudham, East Harling, Norfolk. 

The structure was built 60ft away from their fence by local firm Crendon Timber Engineering, with 46-year-old Jenny saying the ‘monstrosity’ has made it difficult to enjoy her own garden. 

She and Stuart, who is 48, say the timber yard has told them it wants to stack lengths of wood and boarding on the racking, potentially blocking off even more of their view.

Jenny Mason, pictured here in her garden with the metal racking behind her, says it has ruined her enjoyment of the outdoor space

Ms Mason and her partner Stuart Dodd say they would not have bought their home if they had known the metal racking was going to be installed

The couple only moved into their £325,000 semi-detached home in Roundham, Essex, in April

The couple said they had hoped to enjoy a peaceful rural life in Roudham after moving from their former home in Slough, Berkshire.

Mother-of-three Jenny said who works with special needs adults said: ‘We absolutely loved this house when we bought it.

‘We knew there was a timber yard on the other side of the fence, but it didn’t bother us. It was supposed to be our dream home.

‘We could live with a little bit of noise, having previously been in Slough where we were only a few minutes from Heathrow and had planes flying overhead.’

Landscape architect Stuart said he returned from work about three weeks ago, and heard contractors working with a digger.

He looked over his fence to ask what they were doing and was told that they were ‘putting up a steel structure’

Stuart said he immediately went to the yard to complain and was told by staff that they had planning consent for the work.

But when Stuart checked with Breckland Council, he found that no application had been made.

They claim the lumber yard behind their property does not have permission to install the racking

Around a week later, the racking suddenly appeared while the couple were out at work.

Jenny said: ‘I suddenly saw this cherry picker and the giant racking when I looked out of my bathroom window.

‘I went round to the yard and told them, “What the hell are you doing?” We got hold of the planning department and they asked them to stop, but they didn’t.

‘They claimed they had to carry on with the work as the contractors had already been paid and it could be difficult to stop halfway.

‘The council made them apply for retrospective planning permission, and has banned them from stacking anything on the racks until after a decision is made.

Mother-of-three Jenny said: ‘We knew there was a timber yard on the other side of the fence, but it didn’t bother us. It was supposed to be our dream home’

‘But we think that they should be made to tear it down now. It is an eyesore which they have put up without permission with no thought for their neighbours.

‘It has ruined our enjoyment of our garden. Who wants to sit out and look at this monstrosity?

‘It is just disgusting and awful. I don’t see how it can be allowed. It is hideous.

‘The manager of the yard got a bit funny with us, and said that all the neighbours were being very frosty.

‘We know people have got to make a living, and it wouldn’t be so bad if it was a bit lower. But at the moment it is just too damn high..’

Stuart said they had no hint that the company wanted to build the racking when they carried out searches before buying their Norfolk home.

He added: ‘If it had been up when we looked at the house, we probably would not have bought it.

‘When we moved in, we made the garden nice by bringing in a few chickens and creating a little vegetable plot.

‘Then this racking suddenly appeared three months later. It is stretching across the length of four houses. All the neighbours are angry about it.

‘Nobody had any letters or warning that it was going up. When people come round, they say, “What the hell is that?”

‘It is causing us so much stress and anxiety having to fight it, and we can only pray that the council refuse planning permission and make them tear it down.’

Stuart said he feared that any plastic wrapped timber products stored on the racks would rustle in high wind, creating a noise nuisance as well as an eyesore.

He said: ‘You already get the noise of rustling from plastic wrapping around boards on other racks – but these will be far closer to our home.’

The couple’s student daughter Phoebe, 21, added: ‘This racking has ruined the view from my garden and bedroom.

‘If it is to stay, it must be halved in size as currently it looks closer than it is, making the house feel very enclosed.

‘Finally, the additional noise and lights bought about by the use of this rack will be incredibly disturbing.’

Neighbours John and Ameila Raby who both work for the NHS have also opposed the racking.

Crendon Timber Engineering, which is constructing the metal racking for storage space, said in planning documents it would have ‘little to no impact on the local area’

John said: ‘We were not informed that anything was going to happen. We think it is an eyesore. It should not have been put so close to neighbours’ houses.

‘If they had put it further away in their yard, it would not have affected anyone. I know they are a local business and create jobs and we support that. It is not about trying to ruin a business. It is about doing the right thing.’

Planning documents submitted to the council by Crendon Timber Engineering describe the racking as evidence of the firm’s ‘long term investment’ in their site.

A design and access statement drawn up by agents acting for the firm said the racking would provide ‘much needed additional storage capacity, which is necessary to meet current and future demands, especially with the growing housing market.’

The statement said that racking was ‘likely to have little to no impact on the local area, including residential properties’ even though it was ‘visible from some of the residential properties on Harling Road’.

It added: ‘The proposal should have minimal noise impact, as the area is currently used for storage by the Applicant’

The statement also claimed that the racking would allow the firm ‘to work more efficiently with less vehicle movements and a safer alternative to the current storage’.

The firm’s branch director said he understood local residents’ concerns.

He claimed that there had been ‘informal conversations’ with them to see whether the racking’s appearance could be improved.

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