CAN a wooden fence be described as poorly designed? And who is to say what is a bad design and what is a good design. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, as they say, and what one person might find inoffensive, another may find impossible to live with.

So was the case with a wooden palisade fence erected by the owners of a terrace house in Barnoldswick on top of their low front wall.

The senior planning officer at a recent West Craven meeting of Pendle Council was in no doubt, it was poorly designed and jarred with the character of the area - on the particular terrace, there were no other similar fences.

The homeowners, who had put the fence up without planning permission, probably unaware it needed it, put up a robust defence, and claimed there were plenty of other similar fences on top of wall arrangements across the town.

Councillors too were sympathetic at the homeowners attempt to provide themselves with some privacy, apparently CCTV had been installed nearby and was pointed towards their property.

One said he had gone to look at the offending fence before making his mind up, and had not even noticed it, so where was the problem. If it didn't stand out, how could it jar with what was already there; another said it wasn't too bad and as it 'didn't jump out' and so he had no problem with it either.

So, there you have it. The professional planner said no, it shouldn't be allowed, but the councillors knew better. It's a funny old world; one might wonder what is the point of professional planners.