St Albans residents distressed about bungalow which “obliterates” skyline

PUBLISHED: 17:22 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:56 16 November 2017

The view from the Fassnidge's lounge. Picture: Jan Fassnidge

The view from the Fassnidge's lounge. Picture: Jan Fassnidge


Distressed householders are up in arms about a new build which they say “obliterates” the openness of their garden.

The view from the Fassnidge's lounge. Picture: Jan FassnidgeThe view from the Fassnidge's lounge. Picture: Jan Fassnidge

Although construction of a three bedroom bungalow on Hill End Lane was approved by St Albans district council (SADC) in August, neighbours Colin and Jan Fassnidge, of Gresford Close, say the decision was based on incorrect information.

They claim they “never knew what was happening” and believe there should have been more consultation with the property’s closest neighbours. The couple say they only became aware of the proposal after the closing date for objections.

The proposed building sits on a former garage and shed site 23 metres from the Fassnidges’ home, overlooking their back garden. Colin said planning documents submitted to SADC do not take into account an extension erected more than 20 years ago, which places the house much closer to their perimeter than indicated.

Colin said: “It’s distressing because if we sit in our lounge, instead of looking out in a nice open area the new build fills the whole skyline.

“It’s going to devalue our home, when people come to view they will walk into the lounge and say ‘what the heck is that?’

“We might be forced to put up trees or a fence because literally the skyline has been obliterated from the lounge.”

He described the new 7m high house as a “fairly sizeable development”, which “is a bungalow, but a very tall bungalow”.

District councillor Anthony Rowlands visited the site: “I have every sympathy for the local residents who are rightly aghast at what has happened. I think it will have very considerable detrimental impact on the homes in Gresford Close and I am disappointed at the way this has been handled in terms of adequate consultation.”

He added: “I think common sense should prevail and if you looked at the land site plan these other houses are the ones who will be most directly impacted.”

Head of planning for SADC, Tracy Harvey, said: “The decision was made after consultation with all views being considered. We have recently been approached by a resident who has some concerns about the development which is now under construction. One of our enforcement officers is investigating the issues that were raised.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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