A DOG owner has been told by planning chiefs to take down a five-foot high fence and gate around her front garden - after claiming she had been given verbal permission to go ahead with it.

Jenny Heywood, of Alton Way in West Kilbride, completed the construction of the fence last July to try and keep her two pet rescue dogs safe.

Planning officials from North Ayrshire Council (NAC) refused a retrospective planning application for the fence earlier this year - despite the local authority receiving no objections from neighbours.

A 'local review body' (LRB) considered Ms Heywood's request for a review of the officials' decision at a meeting on September 20.

Planning officer Anthony Hume told the members of the LRB: “The fence was erected around September 2022 and encloses the garden which is used by the householder for their pet rescue dogs.

"Beyond the fence is a public footpath at the front of the houses.

“The proposal was refused because it was contrary to the local development plan. The fence detracts from the positive character and appearance of the area. 

"It is not considered to be distinctive, and is not in keeping with the appearance of the area.

“The appellant states they were given inaccurate information by a planning officer on a telephone call prior to purchasing the property, and erected the fence.

“The property was purchased largely because of the garden and the fence, which was needed to keep two pet rescue dogs safe, on the basis it was understood permission was not required.

“Following a complaint a letter was sent to the appellant in September 2022, advising that planning permission was required.

“The letter states that although the application could be submitted it would be unlikely to be approved.

“It also advised a further option would be to reduce the height of the fence so it would fall within development rights.

However, it was argued that a three-feet fence would not provide for the safety and security of the dogs and passers-by on the footpath.

“The appellant said they were told the fence was not in keeping with the character of the are,a but drew attention to other properties which had five or six foot high fences around their properties.

“The back garden is too small for the dogs and it would need the garage to be demolished at great expense.

“The appellant felt they were being prevented from using their own space in the way they want.

“They said they had no intention of breaching the rules and the whole situation would have been avoided had they been given accurate information when they made an initial telephone call before buying the house.”

The LRB's chair, Councillor Robert Foster (Labour, Irvine South), proposed a motion to uphold the officers' decision.

The motion was seconded by Cllr Amanda Kerr (Labour, Ardrossan), and the application was refused.