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Bristol neighbours nightmare as extension costs them
The couple agreed a sale in November, only for the buyer to pull out when he realised the scale of the extension, which is close to their back garden.
And a letter from Jake Grady, branch manager at Ocean estate agents, has not given the Harriss much hope either.
After valuing their house at before the application was granted, he added: If the neighbouring property has approval for the extension overlooking the rear garden then I would suggest that it would be very difficult to achieve over and above for the property.
Mrs Harris said: We are absolutely gutted. Weve got no privacy and we are already losing our sunlight earlier in the afternoons.
The 62yearold has been prescribed antidepressants after the stress of the planning battle took its toll.
The Rehms have stuck to the plans approved by South Gloucestershire Councils Planning Committee. The committee vote recommended for approval by a planning officer was clear, but not unanimous.
The Harrises have complained they were not allowed to say anything to councillors who came on a site visit and were not allowed to show pictures during their allotted five minutes of objection time at the meeting.
But a South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said: Members of the public may speak at both site inspection committee and development control committee meetings subject to a time limit of three minutes on site and five minutes at the main meeting. The council understands that the Harrises exercised their right to speak at both meetings. The spokesman said they were not able to use equipment to show pictures on a data stick due to time constraints and IT security reasons.
Planning conditions mean there are no firstfloor windows directly overlooking the Harrises garden and those overlooking fellow objectors, the Sellick family at 285, are frosted.
But the Harrises say because the extension is elevated compared to their home, the clear glass door and window on the ground floor overlook their back garden. As a result, they have raised the back fence, which belongs to the Rehm family, by 50cm.
Mrs Rehm said: From our point of view the extension is not overlooking. There is no window on the first floor and the door and window on the ground floor are not overlooking because of the fence. Our houses are not backtoback, they are sidetoside.
Last month, the Harrises got an independent surveyor, John Edwards, to assess the extension. He agreed that amenity and privacy had been lost.
Mr Harris, 62, said: We believe the application should never have been granted. This is backed up by a report by an independent surveyor, who told us in 30 years he has never seen anything like it. We ask the council reasonable questions and they refuse to answer them.
Jeff and Suzanne Sellick and their children Natalie and Callum, live next door to the Rehms. Mr Sellick said: Theres no way you can look at that extension and possibly think that does not affect our privacy and the value of our house.
A South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said: The council is satisfied that the planning decision was made soundly. A site inspection was made by members of the Development Control West Committee prior to the decision being taken. On many occasions in the past members of my family have noticed the residents of 283 looking directly into my property rear garden and house interiors Kitchen and Dinning room and rear bedrooms. Due to the frequency and prolonged duration of these occurrences we feel that these occasions are not merely accidental unavoidable occurrences. This does however ignore the fact that Bradley Stoke has faired much worse than average in the downturn, and also that there is a blight on properties in the 250k/265k band because of the jump up in stamp duty costs from 2.5k to 7.5k which means that anything that drops to 265 wont make more than 250k. In reality, the neighbours extension hasnt affected the value of this house at all.