Shock at plans for high fence right behind Littlehampton back gardens

A group of Littlehampton residents were shocked to find out about plans for a 3.5-metre-high fence right behind their back gardens.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 12:55 pm

Developer Persimmon is building the Fitzalan Link Road, which will eventually join up with the new Lyminster bypass at the A259.

Last week residents living in Highdown Drive were shocked to learn that acoustic fencing would be 3.5-metres high instead of the 2.5-metres they thought was planned.

Although not confirmed, it is believed this is due to the speed limit on the new road being 40mph instead of 30mph.

Littlehampton residents in Highdown Drive upset at the height of the acoustic barrier behind their back gardens. Pictured, Warren Kerfoot alongside the 3.5 metre posts. Pic Steve Robards

The fence posts have already been installed but the fencing itself has not.

Residents want the fence reduced in height and the lower speed limit applied when the road opens.

Couple Tracy Lynch and Warren Kerfoot moved into their home this time last year.

They explained how they could hide a 2.5-metre fence with a trellis and flowers on top of their garden wall, but a 3.5-metre high structure would be a ’hideous monstrosity’.

Littlehampton residents in Highdown Drive upset at the height of the acoustic barrier behind their back gardens. Pictured, Warren Kerfoot alongside the 3.5 metre posts. Pic Steve Robards SR2103163 SUS-210316-163836001

The fence is also extremely close in places to properties and they are particularly concerned for more elderly neighbours whose enjoyment of their gardens and view could be ruined.

They also did not understand why a 40mph limit was being proposed when the new road runs right next to the Littlehampton Academy.

They also suggested the size of the fence was something you would expect to see next to a dual carriageway not a single lane road in the middle of a town.

Trees are being planted on the other side of the new road and Tracy said: “How can they allow our lives to be ruined by this. It seems they have thought about the other side of the road, but what about the people living here for the next 15 to 25 years?”

Norman in his back garden

Roy Wells, whose retired father Kevin lives in Highdown Drive, called for a compromise either by cutting a metre off the fence, or keeping the posts and trialling a 2.5-metre high fence for a year to see if it is effective at limiting noise from the road.

He also has concerns about the placement of some street lights and the possibility of them shining into people’s back gardens and bedrooms.

He is also worried about road safety if the 40mph limit is not changed.

Roy also suggested the fences themselves once put in would look like the ‘inside of a rusty tin can’.

Kevin said he was worried about being ‘caged in’ by the new fence and described the 40mph limit as ‘totally out of order’.

In early proposals a larger maintenance gap was included to allow access to control growth. The fence is now being constructed just a few centimetres from people’s back fences in places and this adds to the overbearing feel for residents.

Norman, 83, has lived in his Highdown Drive property for a number of years. He said: “This garden is so important to my wife and I, especially as my wife is disabled and wheelchair bound. We can’t get out very easily so this is really upsetting.”

Independent district councillor Emily Seex described it as ‘crazy’ that the county council would want a 40mph road in the centre of town, adding: “This road will connect the newer houses in north Littlehampton to the secondary school. It needs common sense applied.”

Lib Dem James Walsh said: “Having seen the fence posts, their height, and proximity to rear gardens and property, I have every sympathy with the residents, and hope that discussions between Persimmon, the construction company, Arun DC planners and County Highways will lead to an acceptable compromise, perhaps by reducing the speed limit to 30mph, and the height of the acoustic barrier to 2.5 or 3m places or overall.”

A spokesman for Arun District Council said: “Collectively, Arun District Council and West Sussex County Council understand and appreciate the concerns of residents regarding the height of the acoustic fence which is intended to keep any noise generated from traffic on the new road to within acceptable limits. “We have contacted Persimmon Homes and invited them to pause their work on the fence temporarily. This will hopefully allow officers from Arun District Council and WSCC to meet representatives from Persimmon to explore what alternatives (if any) exist to facilitate a lower height for the fence whilst maintaining its effectiveness for noise reduction.

“We hope to have an update on this issue soon.”

Persimmon have been approached for comment but have yet to respond.

Tracy has also started a petition. Visit you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/reduce-speed-on-fitzalan-link-road-to-30mph