The view from different sides of the fence in Spalding’s Pennygate

On their side of the fence: Geoff and Irene Perkins in Mansell Close. SG170217-103TW
On their side of the fence: Geoff and Irene Perkins in Mansell Close. SG170217-103TW
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A Spalding councillor has offered to try to resolve a complaint from an elderly couple who can see “eyesore” tops of buildings at Pennygate Foundation.

Retired tax inspector Geoff Perkins (83), a former chairman of Pennygate Patient Link, and his retired teacher wife Irene (80) live in Mansell Close.

On her side of the fence: Pennygate Foundation trustee Brenda Wickham. SG170217-113TW

On her side of the fence: Pennygate Foundation trustee Brenda Wickham. SG170217-113TW

Their immaculate bungalow and manicured garden are separated from foundation buildings by back-to-back, 6ft high fences – one topped with a 1ft high, open weave trellis.

From their windows and garden, the couple can see ragged tops of unfinished buildings, with black plastic flapping in the breeze, and exposed bare wood and insulation.

Irene said: “It’s just spoiled our house – it’s spoiled our outlook.”

Geoff said portable cabins went in the wrong place from the outset, saying: “If they were working to the rules I would be happy.”

District councillor Graham Dark will ask the foundation to tidy its buildings so the Perkins can once again enjoy their view.

We revealed in our sister paper, the Spalding Guardian, on February 2 that South Holland District Council had rejected a retrospective planning application for changes at the foundation site.

We also revealed council concerns that the foundation is operating outside its existing planning consent.

Building works giving the foundation’s portable buildings a smart new look were ongoing at the time the council refused the retrospective application.

Trustee Brenda Wickham said that work would have been completed – including the backs of the buildings facing the Perkins’ bungalow – but the foundation stopped everything because of the council notice refusing consent.

Brenda says the foundation is now working with a planning expert in a bid to resolve planning issues to everyone’s satisfaction.

Pennygate Foundation is a lifeline for the homeless and jobless as well as being involved in wide-ranging health and social care problems.

Brenda says while the trust is working to resolve its planning issues, she wants people to know the centre at 204 Pennygate remains open – and has urged supporters to keep on donating food to the foundation at the collecting point in Sainsbury’s.

She said: “Last year we gave out over 700 food parcels and 760 free meals – and that’s quite apart from the clothing, bedding and furniture we helped with.

“One in four children in this country live in poverty and they are mostly in two parent families that are working.”

Brenda said the foundation set out in 2013 on the basis of providing “a few cups of tea” but the need was greater than imagined.

She explained: “The need has grown and grown and we have had to grow with it.”

Coun Dark says the foundation has won independent awards for its work and he would like to see a similar centre attached to every doctor’s surgery.

He said: “They have received all sorts of awards for their work involving the care and health and wellbeing of the local community.”

• What do you think? Email lynne.harrison@iliffepublishing.co.uk