Lerwick view blocked by ‘monster’ house

A Lerwick resident whose view has been blocked by a house being built in a neighbouring garden has called on the planning service to be more compassionate.

Mark Goodhand, who stays in Murrayston, objected to the plan­ning application, along with several other residents, when the new house was proposed in 2012.

But planning officials approved the application as it did not contravene guidelines.

Partners Anna Darnowska and Mark Goodhand with the new house being built behind their back garden. Photo: Dave Donaldson
Partners Anna Darnowska and Mark Goodhand with the new house being built behind their back garden. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Now that the new house is nearly finished, Mr Goodhand said it is bigger than he and his neighbours expected. He said: “It’s a monster of a house with a great view – and we’ve lost our view.”

Not only that, but he thinks it will affect his natural light and be a loss of privacy. He said: “There are two large windows directly facing me, I don’t know how planning allowed it.”

But planning rules state that people are not entitled to a view. They are entitled to daylight, however, and it was deemed there would be no significant loss of light to Mr Goodhand’s house, and his privacy would not be badly affected.

Mr Goodhand stressed he has nothing against the people building the new property, which, according to the planning application by Andrea Tait, will be a nine-apart­ment five bedroom house with an integral garage and a “value of work” of £300,000. However he would have liked his new neigh­bours to have come round and discuss their plans with him.

But he said he realised he could not have stopped the new build, as it did not break planning rules.

However, he said he was “disappointed” with the planning ser­vice, who only sent him a “silly letter – it was the usual jargon, no compassion about it”. He added that it “might as well have been written in Chinese”.

He wanted planners to come into his house and garden and see the problem for themselves. His extension makes the new house seem all the closer, he said, and the planners would have been wel­comed.

The house under construction dominates the view from the rear of Mark Goodhand's house.
The house under construction dominates the view from the rear of Mark Goodhand’s house.

Mr Goodhand, who served 22 years in the RAF, said: “The planning service has badly let us down. They could have stood in our back garden to see, but they never came into my house or garden. They didn’t have the courtesy to come into my house. It doesn’t cost anything to knock on doors. I’m disappointed they treated me as if I’m not worthy.”

He also said they had “little or no regard” for the other three houses that also have to live with this view – the owner of one of them apparently only found out about the new build after he had bought his house near to Mr Goodhand.

Planning official John Holden said a site visit was made, but people are not notified of the time of these visits as prior warning could attract lobbying.

Mr Holden said: “A site visit was made and we made a decision. It was our responsibility to notify neighbours and we did that. It’s the objectors’ responsibility to check matters out for themselves.”

Regarding the new build, he said: “There is no right to a view in planning terms.” In other aspects, it was considered whether Mr Goodhand’s “enjoyment of his dwelling house” would be adversely affected and planners had gone through the appropriate guidelines and decided they had to “strike a balance”.

It was deemed that there would be “no direct loss” of sunlight and the light colours of the new build meant there would be “no unacceptable impact on natural light.”

As for privacy, Mr Holden said that the gable facing Mr Goodhand’s garden which has a door at ground level and a full height window on the hallway and stair case complied with the 18-metre “window to window” separation distance necessary between houses.

Mr Holden said: “He [Mr Goodhand] has chosen to live in a built-up area with all its amenities. We live in an environment that’s constantly changing.”

Mr Goodhand wrote an open letter addressed to the planners which read: “I strongly suggest that the next time you decide to approve planning permission, please go and visit the people who may be affected, this is called politeness.

“I know that you may respond with yet another Chinese officially written letter on company headed paper but I do not want that, I would like you to come along to my house, sit and have a cup of tea with me and my neighbours and explain yourself.”

Ms Tait, a council solicitor, did not want to comment.


Add Your Comment
  • Robin Barclay

    • April 17th, 2015 13:09

    I can think of a number of examples where folk have lost views due to new builds. As far as I understand the planning department have to abide by the rules so cannot turn down an application on the grounds of loss of view if it is compliant on planning requirements and council policy, which it is their professional duty to examine. However, again as far as I understand, it is the council’s planning committee that have the final say and they can override the recommendations of their planning department – so just as they overturned the planning department’s recommendation (against) on the Viking Energy windfarm, they can overturn any individual planning application recommendation by their planning department. Don’t blame the planners who have to follow the rules, blame the councilors who have the discretion and final say.

  • stephen shirmer

    • April 17th, 2015 13:10

    No right to a view- that may be the law , but no right to a view in Shetland should not be the law, as this is what makes Shetland , and one of the reasons why people live and stay there !

    As for the planning authority allowing such a large building to be constructed in close proximity to another building makes one question the role of the planning authority .

    So why all the fuss about basement windows being not suitable at Varis house in Lerwick ?

    Will someone please try and justify the logic that is inflicted upon people by the SIC the planning office ?

  • Ingrid Moar

    • April 17th, 2015 16:37

    I’m afraid that if you live in the town you have to expect houses to be in close proximity to you, that’s just how it is. If you want lots of space and views go and stay in the country. The people building this house have just as much right to their house as you have to yours. As usual it’s a case of ‘not in my back yard’.

  • Jennifer Jamieson

    • April 17th, 2015 19:28

    You can see where the planning is coming from though …. It’s one of the disadvantages to living in a built up area. It seems to comply with all the regulations, looks like it will be a lovely family home, shame for it to be denied just for one guys view when there is a housing shortage.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.