Bloke erects fence outside house to stop chippy customers peering through window

A fed-up homeowner has erected a 4ft fence on a footpath to stop people sitting on his windowsill while they eat their fish and chips.

Stephen Williams, 45, put up the picket fence to block off a path and a layby used by customers queuing for the chippy next door in Alnwick, Northumberland.

Mr Williams used to run a sweet shop next to Victoria House Fish and Chips but was forced to close in 2019 and has now transformed the building into a house.

The old shop front is being turned into a living room by Mr Williams, but he has taken drastic action to stop peering eyes.

Mr Williams defended the fence, saying he wanted "privacy" now that the property is no longer a shop but a home.

He said: "My wife and I used to run the shop from the building and live in the annex next door but that closed and we are now converting the shop into a living room.

"This means the window faces straight onto the path which is used by people queuing to get fish and chips.

"We've had people eating their chips on our windowsill and looking through the window while we are trying to relax. It's not on.”

However, his antics have upset customers of the chip shop who say they must now walk on the road to enter.

One said: “There’s a layby outside the chippy which people use to park before picking up their food.

“The chip shop has been there for years. Whoever bought the house next door must have known that. Sticking a fence up is very petty.

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"He didn't mind people walking on the path when they were coming into his shop and lining his pockets. Now all of a sudden he wants privacy. It's unbelievable."

Mr Williams built the fence along the original boundary line of his £300,000 semi-detached property, which extends 2ft onto the layby.

One resident said: “Stephen is sick and tired of people eating their chips right outside his home.

“Sometimes schoolkids queue outside and can go right outside his living room window.

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"They are basically sitting on his windowsill stuffing their faces while he's watching TV. I don’t agree with the fence but I have some sympathy with him."

Council chiefs are now investigating whether or not Mr Williams' fence is legal.

Councillor Gordon Castle, Alnwick ward member for Northumberland County Council, said: “I’ve raised this with officers at County Hall to the highest level.

"He [Mr Williams] claims to have deeds showing ownership of where his fence now sits.

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"I can hardly believe he has gone ahead with this before any resolution with county highways, especially given the impact on pedestrians and children walking to school.

"There are meetings scheduled to find the legal way forward and I’m sorry I can’t do more, but I’ve sent photos and explained to officers that I’m receiving many messages of complaint.

“I can’t get it higher or faster at County Hall, but I won’t let it go.”

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Speaking about the legalities of the fence and the chippy customers complaints, Mr Williams said: "We just want some privacy. The land is rightfully ours. We checked with the plans and we are legally entitled to put a fence up.

"Most people wouldn't want people using their land as a footpath and neither do we. We just want to protect our property."

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