Sue Perkins wins battle to block pensioners' bungalow

Women In Film and Television Awards - London

The Great British Bake Off host Sue Perkins has won her battle to stop her neighbours building a bungalow in their garden.

Timothy and Caroline Gladstone, who are in their 80s, wanted to downsize from their five-bedroom, £3 million townhouse in London's Hampstead.

But rather than leave the area where they'd been living for 55 years, they hoped to build themselves a new one-bedroom home in the garden on the site of two old garages at the bottom of their garden.

However, Perkins, who lives next door, objected to Camden Council, calling the plans 'unconscionable'. She added that allowing residents to build in their back gardens would set a precedent by allowing back gardens to be ' turned into development opportunities'.

Around 40 other neighbours - including former Holby City actress Patricia Potter - put in similar objections.

And they have now won the battle, with the couple having been refused permission to build.

Under the government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), domestic gardens don't count as 'previously developed' or 'brownfield' sites, which are regarded as suitable for development.

Local authorities are also encouraged to resist 'inappropriate' development of residential gardens.

And the new bungalow, planners said, would be out of keeping with the area's character, cause parking problems and harm the living conditions of neighbouring residential occupiers.
One neighbour tells the Daily Mail that residents were delighted with the decision, adding: "You shouldn't just be able to build a bungalow in your back garden - the whole idea was ridiculous really, and thanks to Sue and all the others, the council has seen sense and refused the application."

Hampstead, with its leafy avenues and well-heeled residents, sees more than its fair share of planning battles.

Last year, Tom Conti put his home in Hampstead on the market, saying he hated the way the neighbourhood had changed. "This used to be a wonderful place to live, but in the past ten years there's been endless, endless building," he complained.

The Gladstones have been told they can appeal against the decision.

Nightmare neighbours
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Nightmare neighbours

Gerard and Christina White from Moseley in Birmingham hit the headlines in September last year, when their neighbour ignored his planning permission, and built so close to their house that they said it effectively turned their detached property into a semi-detached one.

Despite the fact it left them unable to maintain the side of their property, the council washed their hands of the case, and said the couple would have to take private legal action if they wanted the extension to be pulled down.

Helen Coughlan, a 52-year-old carer from Woodford Bridge in north east London, was stunned when her neighbours built an extension just 24 inches from her window - completely obscuring her view.

Despite the fact she says it took £100,000 off the value of the home, and rendered it unsellable, the council said it could do nothing to force the demolition of the new extension.

In 2013, a row that had been rumbling for 17 years finally came to court. One of the neighbours had planted eight conifer trees in his front garden, and ignored repeated requests to cut them back to allow natural light into his neighbour’s home.

He was eventually forced to by a court - after the trees had caused a crack to appear in his neighbour’s wall.

Wendy and Paul Collins from Brownhills in the West Midlands watched in horror as their neighbours erected a six foot fence at the bottom of their front garden, blocking their front gate and leaving their car stranded on their front lawn.

Their home faces onto a car park serving a block of flats, and the owners of the flats erected the fence to stop the couple driving through the car park in order to park on their front lawn. The couple can still access their house through the back - and have a drive round the other side of the house - unfortunately their car is stuck on the lawn.

A Michigan man who had been through a bitter divorce, decided to get his revenge on his ex-wife by moving in next door.

As soon as he had moved in, he erected a 12 foot statue in the front garden, of a hand giving the finger. The statue is even lit up at night.

In May last year, Steven and Fiona Young from Blawith were ordered to pay their neighbours, Peter and Lesley Raymond, £600,000, after a campaign of harassment.

The Youngs had lived in a large farmhouse, but decades earlier sold up and moved to a smaller property next door. The Raymonds moved into the farmhouse and the Youngs became nightmare neighbours.

They piled rubbish in the garden, damaged fences, let animals foul their garden, and rode quad bikes over the grounds. When the Raymonds installed CCTV, Mr Young mooned them, and then painted over them.

The Raymonds sued for harassment, trespass, nuisance, assault and slander - and were awarded £200,000. The Youngs also had to pay £400,000 costs.


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