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The Secretary of State for Environment has refused an application for fencing on Snettisham Common in north Norfolk.
Snettisham Parish Council, which owns the common, had applied for retrospective consent for two lengths of fencing on the common, one around the top of a sandpit and the other between the car-parking area and the picnic tables.
Because the fences are on common land they need the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006. The decision was delegated to the Planning Inspectorate.
The Open Spaces Society, Natural England and four individuals objected to the application. The common is an attractive place for walkers and quiet recreation in the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The fencing around the sandpit consists of rusty posts and galvanised stock-netting, and that on the car park is close-boarded. The objectors argued that both fences are an eyesore and unnecessary.
The inspector, Mr Peter Millman, concluded that the fencing has an adverse effect on the landscape of the common and that this outweighs any benefit to the interests of the parish council.
We are pleased that the inspector agreed with the objectors that the fencing is both ugly and unnecessary. We believe that Snettisham Parish Council should now respect the inspector’s findings and remove the fencing. It might wish to consider the alternative, more sympathetic measures suggested by the inspector, such as low bollards on the car-park and notices on the sandpit