A HUDDERSFIELD couple are jubilant after winning their battle against council planners.
Jeremiah Buchanan, 41, and girlfriend Michelle Thompson wanted to close off a passageway at the side of their house to prevent troublemakers.
It has been the haunt of local drug dealers and alcoholics.
Other people near their home in Spring Street, Springwood, have iron gates across side passageways.
And neighbours thought it was a good idea in their battle to clean up the area.
But Kirklees Council said "no".
Mr Buchanan said: "Kirklees do not appear to have any set procedures for planning.
"You have to catch them on the right day. They will grant something one day and refuse something similar the next."
The council's refusal so angered construction consultant David Hill that he waived his £2,500 fee to help the couple appeal - successfully - to a Government planning inspector.
He heard about their plight in his local sandwich shop in Lower Fitzwilliam Street, where Michelle works.
And his efforts have helped them win their challenge.
Mr Hill said: "The council planners were perfectly aware of the anti-social problems, but said that it was nothing to do with them.
"This is another area that planners should be highly concerned about when reaching their ultimate decisions - for the drugs problem will escalate."
He added: "I took up the case because I felt the couple had suffered a grave injustice."
Mr Buchanan and Ms Thompson bought the two-bedroomed terraced house last year, after renting it for several years from an agency.
They have a seven-year-old daughter, Arron.
While buying the house, the couple learned that the passageway was part of their grounds, which they shared with two neighbouring houses.
Mr Buchanan spoke to his neighbours and they all agreed they would like the passageway shut off.
There are metal gates across several other passageways and police supported the couple's application.
The couple also applied for planning permission for two rear doors, so they could have direct access to their back garden.
Currently, they have a side door and have to walk down the passageway to enter their own garden.
"We cannot see Arron if she is playing outside," said Mr Buchanan, who is training to be a plumber.
"We wanted easy access to the garden, which all our neighbours have got."
But Kirklees councillors voted to reject the application - on the recommendation of planning officers - because it would have a "detrimental impact upon the character and setting of the grade II listed terrace".
Mr Buchanan said: "It is our house that is out of keeping because we do not have gates up and a back door and everyone else does."
The planning inspector granted 75% of Mr Buchanan's application, as he felt one back door would be sufficient instead of two.
Mr Buchanan now has to re-apply to Kirklees Council for formal planning permission for one door.