BREEZEBLOCKS now greet the gaze of a woman as she glances out of her kitchen, after her neighbour built an extension less than a yard from her window.
Helen Coughlan, 50, of Highfield Road in Woodford Bridge, was horrified when Redbridge Council gave her neighbour permission to build the two-storey extension to his home in November 2010.
She was even more dismayed when he strayed from the original permission, increasing the size of the extension outside both her kitchen and lounge, and blocking most of her natural light.
She said: “We have lived a nightmare with this development.
“If you turn off the lights in my house in the daytime you are in the dark. It is a very depressing situation.
“It should never have been given permission in the first place.”
She sued her neighbour, Tariq Ahmed, 44, who now faces a bill for £30,000 in damages and £10,000 in legal costs after settling out of court on the advice of his solicitor.
He said he now wishes the council had turned down his application, adding: “I don’t know how I will find the money.
“It’s a worrying time for me and my family, we only have enough money to pay the mortgage for the next four months as it is.”
Mrs Coughlan said: “I feel sorry for him in some ways, but my house has lost a huge amount of value because of this, and I have no choice but to pursue compensation.
“I think Redbridge Council has a case to answer because it ignored my right to light when it granted the original application.
“It should not be allowed to wash its hands of the matter.”
Mrs Coughlan has reported the council to the local government ombudsman over its handling of the original application.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “The Council has received a complaint in relation to a Right of Light issue arising from a planning consent originating in 2010.
"The points at issue are under consideration and a full response is being prepared to the complainant."