A row has broken out over a St Helens foster mum’s plans to provide better wheelchair access for three severely disabled young adults by moving her garden fence by just one metre.
The dispute was sparked when Shelia Rodgers submitted an application to St Helens Council’s planning department to relocate the boundary of her Prestwick Close home.
The applicant looks after dependent young adults who are in need of the external garden areas. There is a strong argument that their needs should be met in so far as it is possible.Council officials report
Documents submitted to planners reveal Ms Rodgers wanted to make the alteration to provide better access for wheelchair users and make more space in her back garden.
She had moved the fence without seeking permission and applied for retrospective permission.
But it generated a number of objections from neighbours who list a number of complaints about the proposal.
Some even branded the fence “ugly and overbearing” while another moaned that the resulting additional garden space would “afford much advantage to the users of the garden”.
Another demanded the fence should be put back in its original position and appropriate enforcement action taken, while another said the fence meant there was no footpath making the area dangerous for pedestrians, especially chuldren.
However, a supporter of the applicant, who is also her son, wrote a letter of support to planners.
It read: “The ‘children’ who live at the property require considerable care and cannot go without support.
“The additional space within the garden will aid their care. Prior to moving the fence the consent of Morris Homes was sought and the fence was not moved without thought for others.
“The fence has not been increased in height and is not an eyesore. The planning application made is to set the fence back by 1m from the current position.”
The house is situated in Morris Homes’ Waterside Village development in Sutton.
Officials recommended to councillors that they approve the proposal.
In their report, officials wrote: “The original design principles employed on the estate would indicate that the fence should be returned to its original position and visually this would be the best situation to secure.
“However, the situation is complicated in this instance because of the underlying reasons why the fence has been moved to increase the size of the rear private garden.
“The applicant looks after dependent young adults who are in need of the external garden areas.
“There is a strong argument that their needs should be met in so far as it is possible.
“The safety issue is dealt with by the amended proposal and therefore the decision is the balance visually against the needs of those with special needs.”
It goes on: “On balance, officers have concluded that the amended proposal achieves the correct balance.”
A decision is due later this month.
* Do you have a story for the St Helens Reporter? Contact our newsdesk on 01942 506276 or email Andy Moffatt