LEGAL action could be taken against the owners of two Lyme Regis homes who built decking without planning consent.

Dorset councillors unanimously rejected a retrospective application for one of the homes with the planning committee being told that enforcement action is also being taken against a neighbour for their decking.

Both properties back on to St Michael’s churchyard close to the grave of fossil collector Mary Anning.

The committee told that the decking at the end of the rear garden of 55 Church Street stands 2.8 metres tall to the top of a balustrade – with all decking over 30cm tall needing planning consent.

Lyme Regis town council said the decking “has a clear impact on the two neighbouring properties…and potentially the peace of the cemetery and local footpath.”

Dorset councillors agreed with the town council’s position and backed their planning team’s recommendation to refuse the application.

They were told that decking at No54 had also been built without planning consent and was now the subject of enforcement.

Councillors were told that the decking at No55, a holiday let, was out of keeping with the conservation area and overly large, also failing to comply with the Local Plan, and overlooking neighbouring homes and the churchyard.

Planning officers said in their report than many of the nearby buildings are listed as Grade 1 or 2, including the church.

Lyme councillor Belinda Bawden told the committee that the decking was “quite imposing from the churchyard and public footpath” and said there were fears of noise and disturbance from visitors using it, upsetting the ‘quiet reflection’ for churchyard users.