We're furious after our beautiful & historic stone wall was replaced with an 'ugly' wooden fence – and it cost £200,000 | The Sun

HOMEOWNERS are furious after their beautiful and historic stone wall was replaced with an "ugly" wooden fence costing £200,000.

Villagers in the Cotswolds have condemned as a ''bodge job'' the removal of a historic dry stone wall by council workers.

Workers for Gloucestershire County Council knocked down the old structure in Selsley, near Stroud, and replaced it with wood instead.

Now a letter of complaint has been sent by Stroud district councillor Steve Hynd and resident Marisa Godfrey to the local authority.

They say the council had promised to rebuild the 150m-tall wall which needed repair but that without consultation Gloucestershire Highways instead removed it completely.

Workers are said to have then erected a fence on top of a small wall instead – taking 12 weeks and costing a reported £200,000.

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Mr Hynd said: "As well as the aesthetic change, I worry that replacing a traditional dry stone wall with a wooden fence is just a false economy.

"Cotswold stone walls, when erected by skilled local craftspeople, can last for decades with occasional straightforward maintenance – this wooden fence will need replacing in a few years' time.

"'The community should have been given an option to fundraise the additional money to get the same wall replaced.

"We weren't even given those options as a possibility – people probably would have rallied together and actually done something."

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He accused the authority of a "lack of communication" with locals, describing them as "furious about this".

He added: "We weren't told the wall would not be restored to its former standing.

"I think something that has such tangible aesthetic change to a historic Cotswold village kind of should be consulted on by the community."

Ms Godfrey told how villagers were "angry and disappointed" and felt there was "one rule for the county council and another for residents".

She went on: "As a local farmer said to us, he would never get away with removing an historic dry stone wall on his land.

"'Dry stone walls are an intrinsic feature of the Cotswold landscape – an ancient craft that has been passed down through generations – and rural residents are rightly proud of the artisanship and heritage that goes into creating them.

We have this nasty bodge job

"These beautiful walls define our villages and farms.

"They take skill to build but we have those skills right here in the Cotswolds and the job should have been done by a skilled local craftsperson – instead of which, we have this nasty bodge job."

Gloucestershire County Council has now apologised after accepting their communication with locals "could have been clearer".

A spokesperson said: "This wall required urgent repairs costing more than £200,000, which have now been completed.

"The lower part of the wall retained the road, footway and utility services from collapsing into the fields – so needed replacement.

"To build the wall to its former height alongside the footway would have doubled the project cost and duration.

"The livestock-proof wooden post and rail fence is used extensively in rural settings and was designed to be as considerate as possible to the local area while ensuring we use public funds responsibly.

"We accept that our communication could have been clearer on the details of the plan for this project and we would like to apologise for this and any inconvenience caused during the works."

Another homeowner in Caerphilly in south Wales told of having to demolish half of his £5,000 garden wall after a council said it was 20cm too tall.

A resident in Warrington in Cheshire was fuming after being ordered to remove his wall despite insisting the council had given permission.

There have also been complaints by neighbours about privacy fences put up, such as in Birmingham in the West Midlands which teachers said was essential to keep pupils safe.

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A retired couple leaving near Scottish capital Edinburgh celebrated after winning the right to keep up their fence despite protests.

But locals vowed to fight back against an "ugly" 8ft fence in Bournemouth in Dorset.

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