Neighbour's extension destroys £100k of home's value

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Helen Coughlan, a 52-year-old carer from Woodford Bridge in north east London, says her neighbour's extension has taken £100,000 off the value of her home. The extension was built far wider than the changes that the council had approved, and one wall is just inches from Coughlan's windows. However, the council will not demand that it be taken down.

So why doesn't she have any protection?

The story is set to appear on the Channel 5 programme, Neighbour Disputes, next month. According to The Telegraph, the extension has been built just 24 inches away from two windows in Coughlan's four bedroom semi-detached home.

In 2006, Coughlan finished a loft extension in her own property - moving the kitchen the top floor to benefit from the space and the natural light flooding in through the windows.

However, in 2010, her neighbour built their own extension. The new breeze-block wall is now so close to her windows that no natural light floods in at all. It's so oppressive that she told the Daily Mail that she doesn't think she would ever be able to sell up - and that the extension has taken around £100,000 off the value of her home.

She complained to the council, who confirmed that the extension was bigger than the one they had granted permission for. However, they have argued that the only impact on the home is 'loss of light' - which is not a qualifying factor in planning applications - and therefore it can stay.

Coughlan had already taken her neighbour to court privately in 2012, and agreed to an out-of-court settlement of £30,000, but she argues this is a drop in the ocean compared to the value she has lost because of the extension.

Neighbour's extension destroys £100k of home's value

Neighbour's extension destroys £100k of home's value


Building disasters

She's not the first to be shocked by a neighbour's extension. We reported in June last year on the woman in Deal, Kent, who had covered her entire garden with a mobile home for her mother to live in. The council ruled it was 'dominant and incongruous' and she would have to take it down.

Things could be worse. Spare a thought for the family whose Wolverhampton neighbours started work on an extension in February 2012. The work, being done by a family friend, undermined their foundations. Overnight there was a terrifying rumble and the house next door started to collapse.

In 2010 a Perthshire electrician decided to take matters into his own hands after his neighbours built an extension that was over 4 feet bigger than he had expected. He drilled a hole into their house and over a period of weeks pumped in thousands of gallons of water - causing £50,000 of damage and forcing his neighbours to move out for eight months.

And even celebrities can fall foul of the rules. When Stella McCartney installed a shower on the roof of her Notting Hill townhouse in 2002, her neighbours contacted the council to complain. The council said it had been built without permission and despite an appeal she was forced to take it down.

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