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Neighbours' dispute gets nasty at council meeting
A HOMEOWNER was told to 'rot in hell' at a planning meeting by an opponent to his application for a basement.
There was certainly no love lost between the neighbours of Grove Road in Northwood at the conclusion to a discussion of the plan, when councillors had said they could see no reason why the detached property's rear extension should not be granted permission.
There was applause from a section of the audience as the unanimous verdict was given, but when Richard Brown, the owner of the house at number 19 Grove Road walked past his elderly neighbours he was told: "Rot in hell."
Mr Brown left the room without acknowledging the heckler but north planning committee chairman, Councillor Eddie Lavery, was keen to avoid a confrontation and said: "Can everyone please leave quietly, thank you?"
The plans the committee approved were for a rear extension and basement, but the above-ground level section had already been granted permission. It was also noted that the proposed basement was only half the size of one already granted at 21 Grove Road.
Nevertheless, a petition of 39 names was raised against the application, complaining of loss of privacy and overdevelopment. One opponent talked about the proliferation of extensions along the road and asked councillors: "When is enough, enough?"
It was also suggested the development would create a flood risk, but neither the Environment Agency nor Thames Water had raised an objection.
Mr Brown appeared to be almost in tears when he said: "I have gone to great pains to try and have this application submitted with the least amount of upset. I don't want to upset anybody."
Councillors agreed there was nothing to debate about the plan and that it should be approved as recommended in the officers' report, which stated: "The proposed basement would not be particularly visible from the neighbouring properties adjoining the site given that it is below ground level.
"While the basement would extend in part beyond the rear elevation of the previously approved extension it would not cause any harm, with its roof area used as a patio, at a level that is appropriate to the house without causing any adverse overlooking."
Permission was granted with a unanimous vote at the meeting on Thursday last week .
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