A couple have banged their heads against “disgusting” 20ft tall metal shelving which they say has ruined the countryside views from their new home.
Jenny Mason and Stuart Dodd said they had lovely views of trees and distant fields when they moved into their £325,000 semi-detached house in April.
But the couple are now furious after what looks like a “roller coaster” was erected on the other side of their fence in Roudham, East Harling, Norfolk, by a 118ft line of metal shelves.
The structure was built 60 feet from their fence by local firm Crendon Timber Engineering, with 46-year-old Jenny saying the “monstrosity” made it difficult to enjoy her own backyard.
She and Stuart, who is 48, say the lumberyard told them it wanted to stack logs and planks on the shelf, potentially blocking their view even more.
Jenny Mason, pictured here in her garden with the metal shelving behind her, says it ruined her enjoyment of the outdoors
Ms Mason and her partner Stuart Dodd say they would not have bought their home had they known the metal shelving would be installed
The couple only moved into their £325,000 semi-detached house in Roundham, Essex in April
The couple said they had hoped to enjoy a peaceful country life in Roudham after moving away from their previous home in Slough, Berkshire.
Mum-of-three Jenny, who works with adults with special needs, said: “We absolutely loved this home when we bought it.
“We knew there was a lumber yard on the other side of the fence, but that didn’t bother us. It should be our dream house.
“We could live with some noise as we were previously in Slough where we were only minutes from Heathrow and planes were overhead.”
Landscape architect Stuart said he returned from work about three weeks ago and heard contractors working with a backhoe.
He looked over his fence to ask what they were doing and was told they were “putting up a steel structure.”
Stuart said he went straight to the farm to complain and was told by staff that they had planning permission to do the work.
However, when Stuart checked with Breckland Council, he found that no application had been made.
They claim the lumber yard behind their property doesn’t have a permit to install the shelving
About a week later, the shelf suddenly appeared while the couple was at work.
Jenny said: “I suddenly saw this aerial work platform and the huge shelf as I looked out my bathroom window.
“I went to the yard and told them, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ We contacted the planning department and they asked them to stop, but they didn’t.
“They claimed they had to continue work as contractors had already been paid and it could be difficult to stop mid-way.
“The council has caused them to apply for retrospective planning permission and has forbidden them to stack anything on the shelves until a decision has been made.
Mum-of-three Jenny said: “We knew there was a lumber yard on the other side of the fence but that didn’t bother us. It should be our dream house.
“But we think they should be made to tear it down now. It’s an eyesore they put up without permission with no regard for their neighbors.
“It ruined our enjoyment of our garden. Who wants to sit outside and look at this monstrosity?
“It’s just disgusting and awful. I don’t understand how this can be allowed. It’s abominable.
“The manager of the yard made fun of us a bit and said that all the neighbors were very chilly.
“We know people have to make a living and it wouldn’t be so bad if it was a little bit lower. But right now it’s just too damn high..’
Stuart said they had no indication the company intended to build the shelves when they conducted searches before buying their Norfolk home.
He added: “If it was already there when we looked at the house, we probably wouldn’t have bought it.
“When we moved in we made the garden nice by bringing in some chickens and planting a small vegetable patch.
“Then suddenly, three months later, this torture surfaced. It spans the length of four houses. All the neighbors are angry about it.
“Nobody had any letters or warnings that things were going up. When people come by, they say, “What the hell is that?”
“It causes us so much stress and anxiety to have to fight this and we can only pray that the council will refuse planning permission and have it demolished.”
Stuart said he was concerned that any plastic-wrapped wood products stored on the shelves would rustle in high winds, causing both a noise nuisance and an eyesore.
He said: “You’re already getting the rustle of plastic wrapped around boards on other shelves – but these will be a lot closer to our house.”
The couple’s 21-year-old student, Phoebe, added: “This shelf ruined the view from my garden and bedroom.
“If it is to stay it needs to be halved in size as it currently looks closer than it is which makes the house feel very closed.
“Finally, the extra noise and lights introduced by using this rack will be incredibly distracting.”
Neighbors John and Ameila Raby, who both work for the NHS, have also spoken out against the racking.
Crendon Timber Engineering, which is building the metal shelving for storage areas, said in the planning documents that this would have “little to no impact on the surrounding area”.
John said: “We were not informed that anything was going to happen. We think it’s an eyesore. It shouldn’t have been so close to the neighbors’ houses.
“If they had put it farther away in their garden, nobody would have been hit. I know they are a local business and they create jobs and we support that. It’s not about ruining a business. It’s about doing the right thing.”
Planning documents submitted to City Council by Crendon Timber Engineering describe the shelves as evidence of the company’s “long term investment” in its site.
A design and access statement prepared by company officials said the shelving would provide “much-needed additional storage capacity required to meet current and future needs, particularly with the growing housing market.”
The statement said the shelves were “likely to have little to no impact on the surrounding area, including residential properties”, although they were “visible from some residential properties on Harling Road”.
It added: “The proposal should have minimal noise impact as the area is currently being used as a warehouse by the applicant.”
The statement also claimed that the racking would allow the company “to operate more efficiently with less vehicle movement and a safer alternative to current storage.”
The company’s branch manager said he understood the concerns of local residents.
He claimed “informal discussions” had been held with them to see if the appearance of the shelf could be improved.