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.
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.
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.