Saturday, 16 October 2021

New house would tower over mine, says neighbour

A MAN is fighting his next door neighbour’s plan for a new five-bedroom house, saying it would “tower” over his home.

Adrian Whyles, of Horsepond Road, Gallowstree Common, also says the stress of worrying about the development is making his partner unwell.

Jensen and Bonnie Langford have applied to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, for permission for the new property next to their existing home.

The couple have already been given consent to demolish part of their home and garage to erect a four-bedroom home.

In a design statement, Mr Langford says: “Care has been taken to ensure that no first floor habitable rooms will face nearby properties or cause materially increased overlooking.

“The proposed new dwelling is positioned further away from the nearest neighbour than the existing outbuilding.”

But Mr Whyles said the new house would overlook the back garden of his house, where he lives with his partner Sharon Powton and her daughter Beth and their dog Millie.

“The house would tower over our back garden,” he said. “It has been positioned as close to my border as it is possibly allowed to be, presumably because my neighbour wants to keep it from overlooking his own property.

“I would be interested to know how the planning officers are judging the gap to the border because in the deeds to our house, there is no defined boundary line. It is somewhere in among the trees and bushes that separate us.

“On this, I am taking legal advice, as I’m not sure on what information their decision is based.

“Together with the privacy invasion, part of the view from our bedroom of the countryside and trees would become the side of this house. This is not what we bought our property for.”

Mr Whyles, who is a Kidmore End parish councillor, said he and Ms Powton were suffering a “considerable amount of stress” as a result of worrying about the application.

He said: “My partner has been ill for a few years and this stress is doing nothing to help her.

“We would consider moving but we are reliably informed this development would reduce the value of our property, so would undoubtedly affect the sale.

“We also fear intrusions during the building process — and then someone has moved in, right on our doorstep.”

Mr Whyles, who is managing director of a toys and games manufacturer, said he had written to Mr Langford to express his concerns and to request a discussion about the plans but received no reply. He said: “He has no consideration for others. Having received planning permission for a four-bedroom property, it is now a case of ‘how much more financial gain can I squeeze out of what I have’ by re-applying for an even bigger property.”

The Langfords were refused planning permission to build five houses on 0.2 hectares of land opposite their home in 2017. They appealed but lost.

The district council said the development would have a negative environmental impact on the area.

In the same year, their planning application to convert an outbuilding into a two-bedroom house was rejected for the same reason. The couple again appealed and lost.

The Langfords’ application for the four-bedroom home was approved in 2019 with a condition that any trees and shrubs destroyed in the construction process should be replaced.

The council is due to make a decision on their latest application by July 7.

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