Friday, June 21, 2024

Bitter neighbour row as retired doctor puts up scaffolding in 90-year-old’s garden – with structure that’s nearly the height of her cottage overlooking her bedroom window and crowding out her flowers

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Two pensioners are locked in a bitter row after a retired doctor put up scaffolding in his 90-year-old neighbour’s garden.

Gill Hayes-Newington was ‘shocked’ to find scaffolding scaling almost the height of her Grade II-listed cottage in Suffolk. 

The retired social worker said the scaffolding is blocking her view, crowding out her flowers and overlooking her bedroom window.

It was put up by workers employed by her neighbour Dr Andrew Jones, to allow repairs to be carried out to the roof of his own home. The roof can only be safely accessed by scaffolding, which is mostly in Dr Jones’ garden, but also has some struts placed on Mrs Hayes-Newington’s side.

Dr Jones says he owns a thin strip of land on her side and claims he warned her in advance about the work.

But Mrs Hayes-Newington insists that she knew nothing about it until she returned home — and the pair are now embroiled in a furious stand-off. She has contacted a solicitor and is threatening legal action unless the scaffolding is removed from her home in Halesworth. 

She told the Mail: ‘He didn’t speak to me about the scaffolding at all. About a week before, I was passing by and he just said that he was going to be repairing his roof. There was nothing more specific than that.’

Gill Hayes-Newington pictured in front of her neighbours scaffold in her garden

The scaffold blocking the view from inside Mrs Hayes-Newington's bedroom window

The scaffold blocking the view from inside Mrs Hayes-Newington’s bedroom window 

Dr Andrew Jones pictured in his garden where essential works to the roof on his Grade II listed home are underway

Dr Andrew Jones pictured in his garden where essential works to the roof on his Grade II listed home are underway

Describing how she had instructed a solicitor to take action, she added: ‘It comes over quite a way – further than it needs to. I don’t really understand why.

‘The work has ceased [for now] because I’ve contacted a lawyer. It’s highly arrogant to assume you can use someone else’s property to dump your stuff without permission.’

The scaffolding went up on June 4, allowing safe access to the roof of Dr Jones’s own Grade II-listed home.

The retired doctor, 64, said that he owns a thin strip of land on his neighbour’s side of the property, which a section of the scaffolding is standing on.

He said: ‘My partner and I of course conferred with Gill about the essential maintenance work to my roof. Gill knew the work to my roof was essential. It is a little complicated because my house extends to her side of the wall, so technically the scaffolding, though her side of the wall, is in line with my house.

‘I am very sorry that Gill is distressed by the work to my roof and the scaffolding in her garden but, as she knows, the work is essential in order to maintain the Grade II-listed property.

A street view of the properties on Rectory Lane in Halesworth, Suffolk

A street view of the properties on Rectory Lane in Halesworth, Suffolk

A view of Dr Jones' and his neighbour Mrs Hayes-Newington's garden and how they overlap

A view of Dr Jones’ and his neighbour Mrs Hayes-Newington’s garden and how they overlap

‘Furthermore, she even knows the builders who are doing the work as they have done jobs to her home too. If she it taking legal action, I don’t think it will go far.’

But Mrs Hayes-Newington, a retired social worker, blasted back: ‘How would you react if you came home to find your neighbour’s scaffolding in your back garden?

‘The fact of the matter is it is discourteous. He has violated and invaded my privacy – the scaffolding blocks my bedroom window and they [workers] can peer right in.

‘My neighbour can’t play around with me like this. It is egotistical for them to assume this is okay and to assume that I didn’t have plans, such as a garden party with my friends.’

If scaffolding is erected on or oversails a neighbouring property without permission, it could be treated as trespass under the Neighbouring Land Act 1992. If trespass is established, the party that erected the scaffolding could be required to remove it entirely. They might also be liable for damages and costs.

Those needing to erect scaffolding on a neighbours land are advised to request formal consent. If it is not granted, they can apply to court for an Access Licence.

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