Planning dispute leads to eccentric poster campaign

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A tireless campaigner enlisted the help of Laurel and Hardy, a group of dolls and a troop of monkeys to solve a planning dispute.

What began as a road safety campaign for Gary Flowers, when his neighbour put an 8ft fence up without planning permission, turned into a crusade against Kirklees Council, with yard-mounted signs, lights, a social media project and the distribution of 7,000 letters.

Gary Flowers has mounted an expensive campaign to get a neighbours tall fence removed.

Gary Flowers has mounted an expensive campaign to get a neighbours tall fence removed.

Mr Flowers, of Wakefield Road, Earlsheaton, was worried about reduced visibility due to his neighbour’s fence and began his eye-catching campaign to encourage the council to take action.

He said: “The reason why I do it is because the only way to take on a big organisation is to tell everyone – the road is a death trap.”

Mr Flowers, 68, expressed his concerns through large signs in his front yard and used quote boxes attached to dolls, and Laurel and Hardy toys in his window, to spread his message, in a battle that cost him more than £1,500.

But the retired plumber’s campaign was not without its difficulties as vandals took swipes at his displays.

He said: “Lights were stripped off onto the road and dolls were vandalised – one leg was halfway to Dewsbury and one was up by Tesco.

“They had a go at the monkeys as well, they took them down and broke them, maybe to show off.”

Since the campaign began last summer, the council has refused retrospective planning permission.

Mr Flowers said he was pleased with the result but did not want to “hurt” his neighbour, who he said he did not have a problem with.

He said: “If the alarm went off I would go around straight away but I am not sure he is still on speaking terms with me. He took it pretty badly to be honest.”

A spokeswoman for Kirklees Council said they did not want to comment further.