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Tom Bohan tells how his privacy has been shattered by new homes built at the bottom of his garden

Tom's bungalow is overlooked by five houses and 21 windows

Householder Tom Bohan claims he has been “robbed of his privacy” by new homes built over his back fence.

Tom, 69, of Lady Heton Close, Mirfield, said his bungalow was now overlooked by five houses with 21 windows and added: “On a night it’s like Blackpool illuminations.”

Two years ago Tom and his neighbours campaigned against plans by Ben Bailey Homes to build 34 new homes on a picturesque meadow off Kitson Hill Road.

The residents begged for bungalows rather than houses at the edge of the site warning their privacy would be destroyed.

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Campaigners also got the council to admit that the plans breached it own guidelines about space between new houses and existing homes but still councillors gave the go ahead.

Now the new estate is completed and Tom said: “We told them what it would be like. Quite simply we have been robbed of our privacy.

“We have 21 windows facing us and on a night it’s like Blackpool illuminations.

“At the time we complained to the planning department but no one listened to me and they should have listened. In my opinion it’s a disgrace.”

Tom Bohan (left) and neighbour David Musgrave and houses built overlooking his home in Lady Heton Close, Mirfield.

In the council’s Unitary Development Plan, policy BE12 sets down “minimum acceptable distances” between new and existing properties.

The policy states there should be 21 metres (68ft) between habitable room windows but Tom says he’s less than 18 metres away.

The council said at the time that legal advice given to planners was that BE12 did not apply.

The Examiner also reported at the time that the plans submitted to the council were wrong and had to be amended.

A conservatory at a bungalow near Tom’s was described as a garage without windows.

Tom said: “Three times we went to planning meetings at Cleckheaton and Dewsbury town halls. Two of the meetings were about correcting the plans and it was a complete waste of time.

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“They completely over-ruled us on everything and it’s very unfair.

“If you look at the houses behind me their gardens are totally private and mine isn’t anymore. I’ve just spent £600 on shrubs to try to get some privacy back.”

Tom Bohan and Peter Morgan in meadow at centre of controversial development plans off Lady Heton Drive, Mirfield.
Tom Bohan and Peter Morgan in meadow at centre of controversial development plans off Lady Heton Drive, Mirfield.

Developers pay a sum of money to councils for infrastructure improvements, road alterations or extra school places and, it is understood, Ben Bailey Homes paid £200,000 to Kirklees.

Tom said: “Councils are happy to take this money and all the extra council tax from the new homes but what about existing residents? Don’t we matter?

“We always said we weren’t opposed to new homes on this field we just wanted to be treated fairly.

“If this goes on developers will just be allowed to build anything they want. It’s just not fair.”

Tom fears the value of his bungalow has plummeted since the new homes were built and said: “We won’t get full market value now.

“Who would want to live in a bungalow with all those houses overlooking?”

A spokesman for Ben Bailey, now Avant Homes Yorkshire, said: “The positioning of homes at the development on Kitson Hill Road does not contravene any planning regulations.

“We worked closely with Kirklees Council throughout the planning process and can confirm that the properties constructed at the development are in line with the application which was approved and fully supported by the council.”

A council spokesman said: “This development has been monitored by planning officers and found to be in accordance with the approved plans.”



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