Fence disputes and uncertainty surrounding property borders have long been a point of contention between neighbours in the United Kingdom. When it comes to establishing boundaries and an adequate level of privacy, it's crucial to understand the legal requirements and rights of homeowners in the UK. This article will explore whether a neighbour has the right to put up a 7-foot fence and discuss relevant legislation, regulations, and examples that help clarify this matter.

Legal Framework

In the United Kingdom, the statutory and regulatory framework governing fences falls primarily under the UK Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Fences, Gates, and Garden Walls Guide by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, and local council bylaws.

According to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the construction of a new fence does not usually require planning permission. However, this is subject to specific limitations, such as fences adjacent to highways and maintaining reasonable height requirements.

Height Restrictions

Key factors that affect the legality of the height of a fence in the UK include the position of the fence, purpose of the fence, and local council guidelines. Generally, fence height restrictions are as follows:

  • In rear gardens: a maximum fence height of 2 meters (6 feet and 7 inches) is allowed without planning permission. This height includes any additional trellis.
  • In front gardens: for houses adjacent to a highway (including public footpaths), the permissible height is 1 meter (3 feet and 3 inches) without planning permission.

If the fence exceeds these height restrictions, the homeowner must apply for planning permission from their local council. Permission is not guaranteed, and the council may take multiple factors into consideration, such as the character of the neighbourhood, sightlines for drivers, the impact on other properties, or potential obstruction of sunlight.

Permitted Development Rights

While height restrictions apply to fences in general, these restrictions are not applicable to some properties like Listed Buildings or properties in Conservation Areas. In these scenarios, fences may be subject to stricter regulations, and homeowners should consult their local council or planning authority for guidance.

Consultation and Agreement

Although not legally required, it's worth discussing your neighbour's intentions to erect a 7-foot fence before it becomes a contentious issue. In many cases, neighbours can reach an agreement by discussing shared boundaries and working together to find a solution that suits both parties.

If there is a dispute over the fence height, it may be helpful to review property deeds or Land Registry records to determine the accurate boundary between the properties. When disputes cannot be resolved between neighbours, professional mediation or legal action may be necessary to address the issue.


In summary, a neighbour can erect a 7-foot fence in their garden if they have obtained planning permission from the local council. Generally, the maximum height of a rear garden fence in the UK without planning permission is 2 meters (6 feet and 7 inches). Communicating openly with nei]ghbours, understanding legal regulations, and being mindful of the local council rules can help maintain positive relationships and resolve conflicts when it comes to fencing and property boundaries. Knowing these guidelines will contribute to a more harmonious and respectful community and ensure homeowners coexist peacefully.