We have covered Wellington’s high profile fence stoush, dubbed ‘Fencegate’ by the media, in several blogs. In a nutshell, Peter and Sylvia Aitchison’s harbour views were destroyed when their neighbour, David Walmsley, built a fence blocking their view. The Aitchisons sought the assistance of the Environment Court, to demonstrate that the fence should never have been erected and should go.
An initial Environment Court decision determined that in allowing the structure the Wellington City Council had incorrectly interpreted the District Plan. The Environment Court today released a further decision that the structure was objectionable, and exercised its power to order its removal. Judge Brian Dwyer said that the Aitchisons established their case by an ‘overwhelming margin’.
The Aitchisons have one month to file an enforcement order requiring removal of the fence, but as a further appeal relating to the original decision around the interpretation of the District Plan will be heard in the High Court next month, further decisions surrounding the fence may be on hold until that date.
The saga is a strong reminder to have regard for your neighbours. It stands to reason that your ability to do what you like on your property will be limited, if your actions could severely affect those around you.