Gerard and Christina White from Moseley in Birmingham are furious and frustrated after their neighbour decided to ignore the plans for his extension, and build his property almost up to the wall of their home.
This has essentially changed their home from a detached to a semi-detached, and the couple say the move has slashed the value of their property - yet the council has done nothing to help.
Mohammed Nazir's property was originally four feet away. He submitted plans for a modest extension, and after the Whites commented on the proposal, the council included restrictions in the consent to ensure enough space was left between the properties.
However, Nazir deviated significantly from the plans, ignored the restrictions, and built right up to the White's wall. They can no longer access the side of their building for maintenance or repairs.
Christina, a 65-year-old former head teacher told the Daily Mail that the couple had been in the property for 37 years, and it had been irreparably damaged by the extension. Gerard, a 70-year-old former motor engineer, said they felt helpless.
The couple produced a petition to get the council to demand that the extension be pulled down, and 300 local residents have signed it. However they told the Birmingham Post that the council informed them that the extension was not sufficiently different from the plans to enable them to take action, so they would have to take private legal action against Nazir.
A Birmingham City Council spokesman told the Birmingham Mail: "Planning enforcement officers visited the property and established that, while the work undertaken differed slightly from what was approved, this was not sufficient to warrant enforcement action. As such, the case has been closed. We will, of course, continue to investigate any concerns from members of the public regarding planning matters and take action where necessary."
They aren't the first homeowners to have their property blighted like this. In March this year we reported on the woman in Woodford Bridge in north east London, whose neighbour had built an extension far bigger than the one they had permission for - so that one wall was just 24 inches away from her kitchen window - entirely blocking the view. She said the extension had knocked £100,000 off the value of her property, but that the council had refused to take any action.
It seems that councils will only order changes to a property in the most extreme circumstances. Bedfordshire council took this step in 2012, after Syed Raza Shah, a beauty salon owner from Barton-le-Clay, played fast and loose with planning permission to increase the floor space of his 1950s bungalow by 45%. The finished property was four times bigger than the one he had permission for, and the council demanded he demolish the £2 million home.
Meanwhile the council in Deal in Kent ordered a woman to remove an extension she had built in order to house her mother to enable her to care for her. The woman had extended the property by buying a mobile home and covering her entire garden with it. The council ruled it was 'dominant and incongruous' and as she didn't have planning permission for it she was ordered to take it down.
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