Housebuilder told to tear down luxury home
Feb 25 2008 by Mike Blackburn, Evening Gazette
A LUXURY house builder has lost an appeal after being told to tear down a half-built home that left neighbours fuming.
Developers Charles Church began building plot 419 in Portus Bar, Ingleby Barwick, before agreeing boundary and height levels with Stockton Council - a condition of the original planning permission.
Enraged neighbours complained it severely impinged on their privacy and the council’s planning committee agreed, rejecting the developer’s retrospective application in August last year.
Councillor Bob Gibson said developers must face the consequences if they do not adhere to planning conditions and declared the property should be knocked down.
The company had offered several remedial measures, which included higher fencing and fixed, obscurely glazed windows in the kitchen in a bid to ease concerns.
Charles Church appealed against the decision to The Planning Inspectorate - but, to the joy of neighbours, the appeal was last week dismissed.
Nick Matthews, who lives with his family directly behind the building, in Brougham Close, had complained the new house intruded on their privacy.
He told the Gazette previously: “We all handpicked our plots on the basis that we were told our houses would be garden-to-garden, but they changed it here so that our garden backs on to a house.
“They have never discussed it with us, just went ahead and built it with no consultation.”
Today he welcomed The Planning Inspectorate’s decision as “a victory for the people”, adding: “I’m absolutely delighted, it’s fantastic.”
In his report the Planning Inspector accepted one of the proposed measures to remedy the council’s and neighbours’ concerns - the obscure glazing - would be efficient.
But he was not convinced other measures would work and would still result in “harmful overlooking and a loss of privacy both to the occupants in Brougham Close and to prospective occupants of the appeal site”.
Charles Church was not available for comment.
The contentious house was part of a 35-home development in Portus Bar, given the green light by Stockton’s planning committee in October 2006.