Pensioner ordered to re-paint her fence after complaints of it being too bright

Vera Smallwood has been ordered by WDH to re-paint her fence after she painted it purple. Picture Scott Merrylees
Vera Smallwood has been ordered by WDH to re-paint her fence after she painted it purple. Picture Scott Merrylees

A pensioner suffering from multiple illnesses has been ordered to re-paint her garden fence by housing officers, following complaints that it was too bright.

Vera Smallwood who has lived in a bungalow on Ings View in Castleford for more than two decades says she spent weeks painting the four-foot fence, purple for the outward-facing panels and white for the inward.

The 70-year-old suffers from depression, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, and following the death of a close friend recently, decided she wanted to keep herself busy by ‘picking up a paint brush’.

She said: “I didn’t have the money to get someone to paint it so I did it myself.

“It took me three weeks to paint because I had a chest infection.

“I did it bit by bit.

Bright idea?:  Vera Smallwood is at loggerheads with WDH over the paint job of her council bungalow fence, which they say is now too bright.

Bright idea?: Vera Smallwood is at loggerheads with WDH over the paint job of her council bungalow fence, which they say is now too bright.

“I didn’t pay a measly £9 for a tin, I paid £37 because it would weather nicely and stay white longer.

“It’s PVC paint and I spent a lot of money on it.

“The fence was horrible and dull before and it now looks great.

“I painted the inside white because it’s dark where I live and with it being white you can see if anyone is trying to enter when it’s dark.

“It has upset me greatly.

“To be reported by someone that it’s too bright and can be seen from the road is a stupid excuse.”

She said a previous housing officer has told her she could paint the fence, but a new officer has said she requires permission to make such changes.

Wakefield District Housing (WDH) say they are now working to resolve the issue, but still insist Ms Smallwood chooses a colour “more in keeping”.

Mick Walsh, director of housing at WDH said: “Our tenancy agreement, which all tenants sign, explains that permission from WDH is needed for improvements including removing, adding or altering any part of a fence.

“In this instance, our tenant did not seek permission and, had she done so, we would have advised her to choose a colour more in keeping with the surrounding area.

“We are working with Ms Smallwood to return the fence to a neutral colour.”