Millionaire Builds 8ft Hay Wall To Block His View Away From Neighbours, Because He Can’t Stand Their “Barbecuing And Putting Their Washing Out”
A wealthy landowner has been accused of taking revenge on his neighbour by building an 8ft high wall of hay and straw bales which has blocked their view of his meadow.
Stephen Bett, a former Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, created the barrier after 95 leylandii trees which he planted earlier were torn down by an unknown person at night.
The line of giant round bales placed on top of each other close to his boundary covers the entire 60ft width of the back garden of his neighbour Maxine Turner’s bungalow.
The wall has deprived Mrs Turner, 78, of the view she previously had of the horses in Mr Bett’s parkland meadow in front of his 18th century mansion in Thornham, Norfolk.
Her son John Turner, 50, who lives with his mother as her carer during the week accused Mr Bett of putting up the bales as “an act of spite”.
But Mr Bett, 69, who was Norfolk’s independent PCC from 2012 until 2016, insisted that he had only erected them because he did not want to look at his neighbours “barbecuing and putting their washing out.”
Mr Turner, a part time gardener, said: “It looks like he is blaming me for cutting down his leylandii because I am one of the youngest people around here – but I didn’t do it.
“He has only placed the bales outside my mother’s home and not any of the other neighbour’s houses because he wanted to upset us.
“Mr Bett has hundreds of acres of farmland and he could have put them anywhere – but he chose to put them here. My mother has multiple sclerosis and macular degeneration so her eyesight is failing.
“Looking out on the horses on the meadow was a real pleasure for her – but now all she can see is this wall made of straw. She has lived here for 40 years and has never seen anything like it. Until now the bales always used to be somewhere else on his land.”
Mr Turner said Mr Bett upset locals around three years ago by planting a strip of leylandii trees close to his border to screen his view of around four homes, including his mother’s three bedroom bungalow, in a cul de sac called Shepherds Pightle.
The line of conifers which started off as 18 inch high saplings grew to a height of about 10 feet before 95 of them were hacked down by a mystery attacker on the night of July 2.
Mr Bett’s staff responded by building a wall from bales opposite Mrs Turner’s garden, stacked on their ends on top of one another to initially form a 11ft-high barrier.
Mr Turner was enraged to see the wall and stormed round to Mr Bett’s Thornham Hall mansion to complain.
He admits that he lost his temper when talking to a 25-year-old housekeeper who was at the house while Mr Bett was on holiday.
Mr Turner said he went back and knocked down the wall by toppling over the top bales which weighed around 600lbs each.
But Mr Bett has since rebuilt it, using a digger to put the bales on their sides so the structure is slightly lower at around 8ft high and more sturdy, making it almost impossible to knock over.
Mr Turner told how he confronted Mr Bett in the village shop, and demanded to know why he had built it.
He said: “I told him that I had not cut his leylandii down and it was nothing to do with me.
“I asked him what he was playing at, and he replied that he was fed up at looking at our washing when he was driving down his drive.
“I questioned why he was suddenly doing it now when he had been using his driveway for years, and he looked like he was going to explode with rage.”
Mr Turner said he had since received a letter from Mr Bett, saying that he was going to replant his trees, and erect a fence with “other more covert security” to protect them.
His letter added: “We would now seem to have a ‘neighbour dispute’. I believe you were thinking of selling your mother’s house in due course.
“You will no doubt inform the selling agents of this issue as such things are disclosable by law when it comes to selling a house these days.”
Mr Turner said he regarded the letter as threatening him by warning that the value of his widowed mother’s house could be hit, saying police visited him and warned him about his confrontation with Mr Bett’s housekeeper.