A DECISION to refuse planning permission for an ‘eyesore’ fence has been overturned.

Developer Satnam’s decision to erect the structure, on Birch Avenue, sparked anger last year after it prevented residents from parking on land used for that purpose for more than three decades.

An appeal against the council’s decision to refuse the firm’s plans for 1,200 homes on nearby Peel Hall was dismissed by a Government inspector in December.

However, a public inquiry over the appeal will need to be held again after the decision was quashed in the High Court.

The retrospective application for the fence was turned down by the development management committee in August on the grounds of residential and visual amenity.

The council later served an enforcement notice requiring Satnam to remove or reduce the height of it.

But the developer appealed both the refusal of planning permission and the enforcement notice to the Planning Inspectorate.

And the Government agency – which deals with planning appeals – has confirmed that it has overturned the decision as the appeal was successful, meaning the fence can stay in place.

In the decision notice, the inspector said: “The fence as erected is approximately 1.4m high so exceeds the 1m permitted development height.

“However, I do not regard the additional height, effectively the extra rail, to materially affect the appearance of the fence.

“In conclusion on the planning merits of both appeals, the simple and minimal design of the fence is not unduly prominent in the street scene.

“It maintains the openness of this part of the street and does not harm the character and appearance of the area.”

Colin Griffiths, managing director of Satnam, has responded to the decision.

He said: “We are of course pleased the inspector listened to and agreed with our representations and allowed the appeal and quashed the enforcement notice, but it is a great shame these appeals were caused by Warrington councillors in the first place.

“The professional officers of the council strongly recommended the application be approved but the committee was swayed by the local councillor and a small number of local residents on non-planning grounds.

“At a time of limited public finances it is a great shame this behaviour caused the council and the Planning Inspectorate to spend monies they should be using for other essential services.

“We trust that the matter is now closed and we can all move on.”

But the decision will come as a major blow to residents living nearby.

Campaigner Geoff Settle said: “The increased height has been allowed to stand and the chunky fence remains as a daily reminder every time they look out of their window or walk past it.

“I spoke to them on the evening that Warrington Nature Conservation Forum went to survey the bat population of Birch Avenue.

“The residents are very upset and angry about what has transpired.”