The aim of this Plan is to give a clear understanding of the obligations of both Wealden District Council and our tenants and leaseholders for the maintenance, repair and renewal of fencing and boundaries.
This Plan applies to all tenanted properties and communal areas.
Wealden District Council only has a legal responsibility for the maintenance and repair of fencing and gates where this has been installed by the Council.
It is noted that there is no statutory requirement for the Council to provide a fence at the boundary of a property or to securely fence gardens to keep pets, animals, children or persons in or out of gardens. The Council is not responsible for the security of tenants’ belongings kept within garden areas. It is the tenants’ responsibility to ensure that their belongings are adequately protected and insured as may be appropriate.
No repair work or replacements are to be carried out on fences which share a boundary line with any property which is not owned by the Council until it can be confirmed that the Council has responsibility for that boundary.
Where a repair only, becomes necessary to any existing fencing, this will be carried out like for like in matching materials to that which exists if possible.
When it becomes necessary to replace a section/s of existing fencing with new, the visiting officer/operative will make a decision as to the work required i.e. whether it should be renewed to match the existing fencing, or whether it should be renewed in a different type of fencing as identified in the fencing solutions detailed in section 6. This decision will be based upon the following:-
- Type and age of the fencing.
- Length of the section/s to be replaced.
- Length of the remaining section/s.
- Cost of replacing the dilapidated section/s to match existing.
- Condition of the remaining section/s.
- Estimated life expectancy of remaining sections
- Cost to replace the total length of fencing to a new standard.
Any fence that is dangerous may be taken down and ‘made safe’.
Repairs will not be undertaken to knee rail fencing except where the rails are required to restrict access to an area. Any knee rail fencing in poor condition that is not required as detailed above will be removed.
An existing boundary fence will be replaced using the most cost effective solution appropriate to the location.
Where there is currently no fencing or where fences are to be renewed to the whole or a significant length, the first choice will be to replace with chain link fencing and if appropriate the inclusion of two privacy panels by the house.
Consideration will be given to the minimum height of the fence which is necessary, taking into account planning guidelines for front and rear boundaries.
Wealden District Council uses information from its stock condition surveys to manage planned programmes of work for fencing replacements. Fencing identified and ordered in a planned way often represents better value for money than carrying out repairs in an ad-hoc responsive way and reduces the number of responsive fencing repair requests in adverse weather conditions.
a) Chain Link, height of 0.9 meters
This is the most cost effective way of marking out a boundary and should be considered first choice.
b) Panel Fencing, height of 1.8 meters
This is only slightly cheaper than close boarded, and usually not as strong.
c) Close Boarded, height of 1.8 meters
This is a more expensive option but has a longer life than weaker panel fencing in locations where a stronger fence is required.
d) Pallaside fencing, height of 1.8 meters
There may be some situations where pallaside fencing is appropriate, and the fencing may be metal or wood
If a fence blows down in the wind, or is vandalised, the Council will attend to make it safe either as an emergency or urgent response, within 24 hours or 3 days respectively depending upon actual circumstances, but full repair/replacement may not take place at the same time.
Fencing repairs will be completed within 6 months of works being approved. Any repairs relating to a significant and immediate health and safety risk will be prioritised.
Facilitating access to and from gardens, or making access safe, for a disabled occupant is one of the eligible works under the Disability Facilities Grant. This could include fencing works and would be carried out subject to an assessment from an Occupational Therapist and determination of grant eligibility conditions.
There are sometimes exceptional circumstances that may affect the type of fencing that is installed. This could include requirements for additional security, anti-social behaviour, medical conditions and other social reasons. Sometimes the issues that make circumstances exceptional may be confidential in nature, and this sometimes leads to questions about fairness from neighbours. Decisions about exceptional circumstances will be referred to the Property Services Manager.
Where damage, including accidental damage, has been caused to council fencing or gates or where fencing or gates have been altered or removed by a
tenant, tenants family or visitors, the Council will recharge the full cost of any necessary repair or reinstatement in accordance with the current Council’s recharge policy.
Tenants who wish to install their own fencing must first request permission from their Housing Officer.
The Council will require that any fencing is installed upon correct boundary lines, as directed by the Council, and that the necessary planning permissions have been sought if appropriate, and that immediate neighbours directly affected by works have been consulted. Consideration will also be given to whether or not the fencing requires the removal of an existing hedge and the general condition of the hedge.
If a tenant receives permission from the Council to erect fencing, the tenant will continue to be responsible for its upkeep and replacement thereafter.