Britain’s Top Ten Nightmare Neighbours.Published on 20th January 2015
At Apropos we’re often asked advice about how to make sure a renovation project runs smoothly. Much of the advice varies according to client’s needs, but there’s one thing we always, always say: keep the neighbours on side. Talking to your neighbours, keeping them informed, and making sure that everything stays friendly is the easiest way to secure a happy future.
Sadly, that advice isn’t always followed, and although all Apropos clients are sensible and lovely, we’ve been reading about a few people who have fallen foul of the nightmare neighbour trap, so we thought we’d share some examples as a salutary lesson. Imagine, if you will, the most bombastic American voice-over and read on to see what happens…
When Good Neighbours Go Bad
- In 2009 the Goddard family woke up in their beautiful, newly renovated barn conversion to find that their neighbours had stealthily constructed a six foot high wall along one side of the building to ‘stop the Goddard’s from trespassing when they opened their windows’.
- Everyone’s heard of someone with problems with giant leylandii, but David Alvand took it to an extreme. In 2010 he was ordered to cut down his cypress trees, after they exceeded an impressive 35 feet in height, towering over his house.
- Neighbours don’t need to be seen to be problematic – in Knightsbridge, multi-millionaire David Graham, has annoyed his equally rich neighbours by trying to build a four-storey basement beneath his 12-bedroomed home to ‘fulfil his family’s basic needs.’ We can only assume that he has a very big family and some extra special needs!
- Meanwhile, locals in Croydon are complaining about a perfectly well planned and proportioned new home. There’s nothing wrong with the building or its location; the problem is that it’s been left unfinished, making it a haven for wildlife and vagrants, and a blot on the suburban landscape.
- Charity begins at home it seems, as in Northumberland the Salvation Army have come up against protestors, having broken planning permission to build an ‘industrial style eyesore’ in the middle of a housing estate. So much for Christian goodwill!
- In 2012, a couple in Essex set out to get their neighbour’s goat with the erection of a ‘15ft tarpaulin fence festooned with old socks and other bits of tat’. Why? Because they could.
- Wall-building seems to be a particularly popular pastime for people who dislike their neighbours; in 2014, Helen Coughlan’s neighbour extended his home so close to her boundary that she was also unable to open any windows on one side of her semi-detached home. Not surprisingly, the extension didn’t have planning permission.
- In 2009 an eco-friendly home-owner made his neighbours feel less than friendly when he erected a 40ft wind turbine in his garden. Despite the turbine being more than 164ft from the nearest neighbour’s house, he was ordered to take it down and pay £5,392 court costs.
- In Lancashire in 2010, a row broke out between neighbours over the construction of a ‘look-out tower’ on top of a home, in breach of planning permission. As you do.
- Finally, the most hellish of any neighbours we’ve seen – the residents of this street in Kent have had their homes and their lives blighted by a 40ft high rubbish mound. It’s not a funny note to end on, but it does serve to show that actually some things are more worth complaining about than others, so keep your problems in perspective and talk to your neighbours – their plans for a new conservatory may not be that bad after all
Think your neighbours could give some of these people a run for their money? Or are you now even happier than you were with your pals next door? Let us know what you think of Nightmare Neighbours on Facebook or Twitter.