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‘Our gardens were our sanctuaries’ - Families slam building company’s ‘intrusive’ racking

PUBLISHED: 17:20 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:03 18 July 2020

Residents from Merchants Court in Watton have rallied against Jewsons for putting up 'intrusive' racking outside of their homes. Picture: Michael Watling

Residents from Merchants Court in Watton have rallied against Jewsons for putting up 'intrusive' racking outside of their homes. Picture: Michael Watling

Michael Watling

Families have lodged complaints with a council after a neighbouring builders merchants put up 5.5 metre high racking to hold timber outside of their homes.

Michael and Maureen Watling, Theresa Sanders and Carol Velosa from Merchants Court, in Watton, have lodged a complaint against Jewsons for erecting 5.5metre cantilever racking outside of their gardens. Photo: Emily ThomsonMichael and Maureen Watling, Theresa Sanders and Carol Velosa from Merchants Court, in Watton, have lodged a complaint against Jewsons for erecting 5.5metre cantilever racking outside of their gardens. Photo: Emily Thomson

Residents on Merchants Court in Watton have rallied against Jewson after the company introduced the cantilever racking which now overshadows their gardens.

After complaints from four households and without the correct planning permission, Breckland Council got in-touch with the company and they agreed to submit a retrospective appliction.

With the documents now lodged and a decision to be determined by August 28, residents hope the council will “make the right decision” and enforce that the racking is removed.

Michael and Maureen Watling have lived next to the merchants’ yard for 10 years and said they have never had a problem with the company, but this is just a step too far.

Michael and Maureen Watling, Theresa Sanders and Carol Velosa from Merchants Court, in Watton, have lodged a complaint against Jewsons for erecting 5.5metre cantilever racking outside of their gardens. Photo: Emily ThomsonMichael and Maureen Watling, Theresa Sanders and Carol Velosa from Merchants Court, in Watton, have lodged a complaint against Jewsons for erecting 5.5metre cantilever racking outside of their gardens. Photo: Emily Thomson

Mrs Watling said: “We have lived here for years and we have loved every minute of it, we have had no problem with Jewsons at all.

“But this came from nowhere, we were out one day and came back and it was just there.

“During Covid-19 our gardens were our sanctuaries, but now I find it very hard to walk outside because that is all you can see and it has stolen our natural light.”

A Jewson spokesman said the cantilevers are part of a £300,000 investment to improve the site and make it more accessible to the public.

Residents from Merchants Court in Watton have rallied against Jewsons for putting up 'intrusive' racking outside of their homes. Picture: Theresa SandersResidents from Merchants Court in Watton have rallied against Jewsons for putting up 'intrusive' racking outside of their homes. Picture: Theresa Sanders

The company said: “Firstly, we’d like to apologise for any distress caused to neighbours of our branch at Watton.

“Our Watton branch is long established and we’ve always enjoyed a very good relationship with our neighbours.

“As part of this investment we have removed an old dilapidated storage building and moved some of our timber materials to new, safe, timber storage racks which are close to our mill.

“We have discussed the plans with Breckland Council on a number of occasions and have met with the council today to discuss the plans further.

“Unfortunately, there was an initial mix-up with our planning application, which is now corrected.

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“We did write to residents earlier this year to inform them of our intentions, nonetheless, we are very sorry if there has been any confusion caused by this mix-up.

“We will of course await a decision from Breckland Council and will abide by any actions they require.”

But Theresa Sanders, another resident, said they were not informed about the changes which would affect their homes.

She said: “It is really intrusive, over powering and there has never been anything over the fence line before.

“The noise is horrendous when its windy and rubbish comes in the garden off the wood.

“We have always known they are there. But this is really wrong and they haven’t taken the residents into consideration.”

Breckland Council did not wish to comment.


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