Our privacy has been ruined by our neighbours’ newbuild homes – they’re too high and can see into our kitchen | The Sun

FURIOUS residents have blasted they have "completely lost their privacy" as their neighbour's extensions can see into their kitchens.

The homeowners hit out at the housing developers – who they claim ignored planning permission restrictions and built dormer windows in the roof of two new homes, meaning the new properties now overlook their properties.

Angry neighbours in Romsey, Hampshire, are awaiting the outcome of an appeal by Stratland Estates after Test Valley Borough Council refused its application for the extensions to the original plans.

Pat Nightingale, 81, who moved into her home in December 2021, said: "They had planning permission for the houses but they were supposed to have conventional roofs.

"Then the developers started putting in dormer windows without planning permission.

"When the planning did come up, it wasn't granted, but they carried on building it anyway. Enforcement officers came but they were ignored."

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Mrs Nightingale is particularly upset at the unrestricted view the windows will have of her sun lounge, part of her kitchen and her garden.

"Of course, I spend a lot of time in my garden," she continued.

"I'll be out here most of the day until about 9pm as long as it's not too hot. I just feel so exposed now."

Neighbour Stephanie Carter said one of the two houses is already occupied with the other set to have people moving in soon.

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"Four houses are particularly impacted, where the houses will have very, very direct views in," she said.

The distance of the newbuild homes from the homeowners neighbours is a particular point of contention.

Mrs Nightingale, who is a retired nurse, said: "It's okay to be 20 metres apart and they're 30 metres away, but because the land is higher and because they have gone up another storey it has a greater effect."

Ms Carter said the housing company claim trees block the views from the windows, adding: "Stratlands say we're not overlooked by the houses because of the row of trees.

What are your rights in retrospective planning permission?

A local planning authority can invite a retrospective application, according to Gov.uk.

You should submit your application without delay.

Although a local planning authority may invite an application, you must not assume permission will be granted.

A person who has undertaken unauthorised development has only one opportunity to obtain planning permission after the event. This can either be through a retrospective planning application or an appeal against an enforcement notice – on the grounds that planning permission should be granted or the conditions should be removed.

The local planning authority can decline a retrospective planning application if an enforcement notice has previously been issued.

No appeal may be made if an enforcement notice is issued within the time allowed for determination of a retrospective planning application.

"But because of the nature of the poplar trees the leaves don't start until higher up – we are not shielded by them."

In a small 'ecological strip' between the gardens of the residents and the overlooking homes, the council are said to have approved the planting of young trees.

Mrs Nightingale added: "They're talking about 80cm oak tree saplings.

"It'll be 50 years before that grows up to provide any sort of screening.

"It's crazy – so what they have done is jump the gun by just building the dormer windows anyway without permission. It's arrogant.

"For them to say we're not overlooked when as far as I know they have never even been around here.

"Nobody from Stratlands has knocked on my door and asked to see it from my point of view."

Mrs Nightingale, who is mother to two and grandmother to four, moved to the area to be closer to her daughter.

"She thinks it's awful, but I've had it imposed on me."

She admitted that had she known the intrusive extension were being built she may have had second thoughts about moving.

"I'm happy here apart from that," she said. "If it had already built it, it would have made me think twice or three times about moving here.

"It just makes me feel so exposed – I feel I've completely lost my privacy."

Clare Rouf lives on the same street and said there was 'uproar' on the neighbours' WhatsApp chat as people were updated.

The 38-year-old carer said: "It's terrible. It's not nice, who would want to be there? I feel so sorry for them.

"Something needs to be done – it's bad when they don't listen."

Martin Hartley, who lives on the same road but whose house is unaffected, said: "It's disgusting. If it were just an ordinary roof plan it would be well screened but it hasn't been.

"Particularly in the winter when the few leaves that are there, fall."

The Sun Online contacted the housing company for comment.

The appeal, submitted by Nova Planning on behalf of Stratland Estates, states: "In the council's opinion, the introduction of second floor openings in the proposed dormer windows would represent a significant increase in overlooking of private garden areas of the adjacent properties, which in their view is also compounded by a change in levels.

"The council consider that separation distances of approximately 30m from the rear elevations of neighbouring properties and intervening protected trees are not considered sufficient to mitigate the overlooking impact. The appellant disagrees with the council's assessment.

"In summary, it is considered that the council has overstated the effects of the development on neighbouring amenity and has not given due regard to the material conditions that it exist on the ground.

"The appellant considers that the design and appearance of the dormers is entirely acceptable.

"In the appellants' opinion, having proper regard to the context of planning permissions locally, the proposed dormers are not alien and would not lead to any harmful impact on the character of the area as a consequence.

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"The appellant considers that the council has overstated the effects of the development on both neighbouring amenity and local character. The proposed variations are considered acceptable and can be accommodated on site without having any harmful effects on neighbouring amenity or character."

The Sun has contacted Stratland Estates and Test Valley Borough Council for comment.

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