When Ian Chisholm decided to make the fence next to his drive taller, he created a rather bigger divide between himself and his neighbours than he bargained for.
For the couple next door were none too impressed when they came back from a holiday to find a six-and-a-half-foot barrier had been put up in their absence.
The dispute has now culminated in a court ruling that saw former taxi driver Mr Chisholm and his wife Teresa, a retired hospital worker, not only ordered to take down the fence but also facing the prospect of having to sell their three-bedroom home to pay a £20,000 legal bill.
A judge backed the argument made by the Chisholms’ neighbours, retired naval worker David Roberts and his GP wife, Dr Lorraine Foreman, that the fence encroached on to their property in Paignton, Devon, by five and a half inches.
Yesterday Mr Chisholm, 67, who represented himself in court, wept as he told how the ordeal had left him and his 62-year-old wife ‘severely depressed’ and facing financial ruin, adding: ‘I can’t understand it.’
The Chisholms bought the detached house in 2007 for £290,000 after moving from Coventry. In August 2009 Mr Chisholm put up a much taller fence while the neighbours were away, claiming he did not want to cause a confrontation.
On their return, Mr Roberts, 65, and Dr Foreman, 61, asked him to remove the ‘eyesore’. Giving evidence in the hearing, Mr Roberts said: ‘I thought it was a very cowardly act. I was very cross.’
His wife added: ‘It was spiteful. We can’t see when we are coming out of our drive now.’
When Mr Chisholm refused to lower the height of the new structure, Mr Roberts pointed out that it was on his land, and the smaller fence had been erected there only because he had allowed the previous neighbours to do so.
After a two-day hearing at Torquay County Court this week, Recorder Robin Tolson ruled the fence must be removed by May 9, and Mr and Mrs Chisholm were faced with court costs of £19,690.
Last night Mr Roberts said he and his wife had been rebuffed in six separate approaches to their neighbours to avoid going to court.
The Chisholms yesterday said they planned to appeal the ruling.
Mr Chisholm added: ‘One thing’s for certain, if I have to remove the fence, I’ll be putting it straight back up 13cm closer to my property. I never want to see that man again.’
Source / Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1376781/Ian-Chisholm-handed-20k-legal-erecting-divide-half-foot-far.html