A COUPLE who planned to build a second home in their garden for a frail dad have been stopped – after livid neighbours dragged them to court.
Emma and Terence McGuinness say they were "shunned and ostracised" by some residents in Oxshott, Surrey, over plans to demolish their home and replace it with two.
It became so bad that Terence, 45, says Bikram yoga teacher wife Emma, 41, was "ostracised" by the wine society and no longer enjoys chats at the gate or summer picnics.
The row exploded when the pair were sued by a company which owns private roads accessing The Ridgeway, an "idyllic" gated estate where homes sell for £2 million.
The lawsuit sought an injunction banning the couple from using the roads to carry out the build at their sprawling four-bed home.
Terence, a catering boss, and his former figure skater wife Emma, have planning permission to level their existing £1.5 million home and substitute two new homes.
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They say the plans are solely to ensure that Emma's frail dad and his wife can live beside them and be cared for.
But the company – made up of neighbours on the 47 house estate – argued various conditions restrict owners to “one plot one house”.
In a hearing at Central London County Court, residents' barrister Miriam Seitler argued that "significant" building works would shatter the calm of a quiet estate.
But giving evidence in court, Terence said the pair felt “ostracised” over their plans, where before they had mingled freely on an estate they have lived for ten years.
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He added: "The last two years have been extremely difficult for us."
When he first floated his ideas to his near neighbours, Terence said that most did not object, although “there was a ground swell of opposition once the planning process got underway”.
The couple's barrister, George Woodhead, accused neighbours of "strong sense of nimbyism" – pointing to construction projects of other residents who have “extended, rebuilt or improved” at some point.
The pair also offered compensation for any damage done and works would only take place between 8am and 6pm on weekdays and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.
But Ms Seitler said the couple’s project went beyond anything in the past, alleging that many on the estate felt a “particular concern about multiple dwellings”.
Judge Simon Monty rejected claims of “hypocrisy” levelled at some company members in stonewalling the McGuinness’ scheme.
He ruled against the couple, saying their plans could disrupt neighbours for "21 months" and upheld the injunction, which will cut off building traffic, blocking their plans.
Judge Monty also suggested the McGuinnesses accommodate their frail dad and his wife by extending their home.
YOUR RIGHTS EXPLAINED
Planning permission for annexes:
You need to apply through your Local Planning Authority and ideally this needs to be obtained before you start your project as there may be conditions attached to your permission or it may be declined.
In most cases the Householder Application route must be used to apply for permission.
In some cases, such as those where it looks highly unlikely planning permission will be granted, the Caravan Act can be used to gain a Certificate of Lawfulness for the siting of a mobile home.
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