A conflict has arisen over a new 11-home development in Weston Turville after builders changed the position of a first floor window with respect to the original plans.
The approved plans for the Low Meadow development included a dormer window at the back of the house in question, known as 'plot 11', that overlooked its own garden.
However, as the property went up, its neighbour living to the side of the house could only look on in horror as a window appeared directly over her garden, providing a perfect line of sight into her nine-year-old daughter's bedroom.
Dr Vicky Taylor, the homeowner affected by the unscripted window, said:
“I told my daughter not to worry because there was no window on that side and then blow me suddenly they put a window in. Because there's scaffolding on that side she now cannot get dressed in her own bedroom.”
We contacted the developers W.E. Black about this. Owner Eric Gadsden said:
“We saw it as a better orientation for the room.”
When asked why he didn't first seek a change to the plans, Mr Gadsden said that the planning authority takes too long when dealing with such requests, adding:
“If you had an efficient council you could get something done in six weeks.”
We queried the planning authority, Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC), on the ethics of changing plans after approval by their committee. Peter Strachan, cabinet member for planning and enforcement said:
“Although it is better to seek permission in advance of any planned changes, a developer can make changes and apply retrospectively.”
Indeed this is the status quo. After AVDC concurred that the side window was a breach of the original plans, W.E. Black submitted what is known as a material minor amendment application which is currently awaiting a decision.
This application, 19/01027/APP, has received significant objections. Carole Paternoster, councillor for the relevant ward and cabinet member for strategic planning and infrastructure, noted that the window was out of step with both Aylesbury Vale's and Weston Turville's planning policies and wrote:
“This unauthorised window looks directly into a child's bedroom window in the neighbouring property creating not only a planning contravention but also a safeguarding issue. AVDC has already received a photo showing a man standing at this window and looking directly into the child's bedroom window.”
The chairman of Weston Turville parish council, Martin Jarvis, also objected by drawing reference to the local plans:
“The Parish Council objects to this retrospective application. The original planning permission was for a dormer window facing onto the new dwelling’s garden and by building the house with a window on the side of the house, it contravenes the Weston Turville Neighbourhood Plan Policy H2 and AVDLP saved policy GP8. The unapproved window adversely affects the residential amenity and privacy of an existing property as it overlooks their garden and directly into a bedroom."
In the meantime builders have continued to finish the window, much to the frustration of Ms Taylor. She said: “I think it's wrong. They should be told to black it up as a minimum, put cupboard on it, something to stop damaging our amenity because it has stressed me out.”