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PRIVACY PROBLEM: New housing development in Conwy causing issues

PRIVACY PROBLEM: New housing development in Conwy causing issues

Image: LDRS

Residents living next to a new social housing scheme have slammed a developer’s decision to cut down a hedge which maintained everyone’s privacy as “completely ridiculous”.

The householders, living on a private lane off Llanfair Road, Abergele, say seven foot tall hedgerows bordering the properties were cut down on the instruction of developers Anwyl Homes in August last year.

It’s left them fighting to retain their privacy from the 80-home social housing development which has sprung up in front of them.

Neither Anwyl, which maintains the hedge was annually cut down to its present height, nor Adra, which is taking control of the properties, is prepared to put fencing between the estate and the existing homes.

However 1.8m fencing has been installed between each property…to maintain the new residents’ privacy from each other fences are being erected between the development and four other houses further down the estate.

The problem is residents who have lived off their private lane for years say they can now see into their new neighbours’ back gardens and homes – and vice versa.

Barry Green who lives in the home owned by his family for the last 50 years said he had tried to resolve the issues with Adra, without success.

The heating engineer said: “The houses overlook us as the land rises up more than a metre from the hedge towards some of the properties.

“I can see everything in those gardens and right into people’s ground floor windows when I go down the lane.

“But they can also overlook my property and garden and my family has no privacy at all.

“Everyone is entitled to privacy – it’s completely ridiculous.”

He and other neighbours have contacted Adra and there was even a site visit in January but an email from the social housing provider said Conwy’s planning department stipulated a 2m gap must be left between any fencing and the hedgerow, so gardens would be made unacceptably smaller.

Mr Green said there was no need for anyone to be in this situation as they had a gentleman’s agreement with the previous landowner to each cut their own side of the boundary thicket.

That was until Anwyl Construction instructed a local farmer to cut the hedgerow down to less than four feet high.

Mr Green said: “We started growing the hedge high. The farmer always cut it from his side to keep it neat and tidy but we were growing it and I was looking after it.

“In August last year we saw a tractor down our private lane cutting the hedge.

“Half the hedge is owned by Anwyl and half of it by us – but he was down our lane cutting the hedge on the instruction of Anwyl.”

One homeowner suggested it would take in excess of five years to reach its former height.

The social housing provider said it would also make it’s tenants aware of the need to keep the hedge.

Phil Dolan, managing director for Anwyl Homes in North Wales, said: “This hedge is trimmed annually by the same farmer and is cut to the same height each year to ensure regrowth is kept under control.

“Should we receive any complaints from local residents we will take feedback on board for future maintenance work.”

Adra was formerly known as Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd it was set up in 2010 after the stock transfer of around 6,300 homes from Gwynedd council.

A spokeswoman for Adra said: “We have followed all planning conditions as set out in the planning consent, the planning permission was given following a consultation period where we took into consideration any issues the local community had.

“We understand that residents privacy is important and we, together with the Council who granted planning permission took this into consideration.”

Words: Jez Hemming, Local Democracy Reporter

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