Helen Coughlan, 51, of Highfield Road, Woodford Bridge, yet to receive a penny of compensation from extension neighbour

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Helen Coughlan Helen Coughlan

A woman awarded £30,000 in compensation after a neighbour's extension blocked out most of the natural light in her home has yet to receive a penny four months on.

Helen Coughlan, 51, of Highfield Road in Woodford Bridge, was horrified when Redbridge Council gave Tariq Ahmed planning permission for the work.

The extension is less than three feet away from Mrs Coughlan's home and she is forced to leave her lights on for long periods due to the lack of light.

She sued her neighbour for compensation and a £30,000 out of court settlement was reached, with Mr Ahmed also agreeing to pay £10,000 legal costs.

But an agreed £6,000 lump sum and £2,000 monthly instalments have not been paid, and he has applied to the court to pay just £250 a month.

Mrs Coughlan, 51, said: "I am not going to accept £250 a month – I’ll be nearly dead by the time it is paid off.

"He must have known four months ago he wouldn’t be able pay back the money.

"I am fed up with the whole system. I have been let down at every point in the process.

"I appealed against the decision and got nowhere. I took Mr Ahmed to court and haven’t received a penny.

"My house has lost £50,000 in value and the court costs are costing me thousands."

Mrs Coughlan has lodged a complaint against Redbridge Council with the local government ombudsman.

The authority has confirmed it is investigating the legality of a patio built by Mr Ahmed, but not the extension. 

The Law Commission has launched a consultation after proposing to relax laws giving homeowners the right to light and Mrs Coughlan has vowed to contribute.

She said: "I really want to show what living without light does and how changing the law will affect people’s lives.

"It is constantly dark in my house and I feel stressed and depressed constantly."

A spokeswoman for Redbridge Council said: "We recognise this is a complex matter and sympathise with the situation between Mrs Coughlan and her neighbour, however, the council is satisfied it applied the relevant planning policies and procedures correctly.

"The ‘right to light’ is a private law right which is not, of itself, a qualifying factor when determining planning applications.

"It is an applicant’s responsibility to consider the relevance of the general law, including any possible rights to light enjoyed by neighbouring dwellings. Any interference with such rights may make the applicant liable to private civil law action.

"Having properly investigated Mrs Coughlan's complaint to the council, we understand she has now referred her complaint to the Ombudsman and we will of course respond to any matters raised by the Ombudsman."

Comments (17)

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5:36pm Thu 21 Feb 13

solcomm says...

Perhaps the neighbour has special friends at Redbridge!
Perhaps the neighbour has special friends at Redbridge! solcomm

6:53pm Thu 21 Feb 13

lucygwa says...

What an absolute disgrace. Whoever signed off this planning consent should be identified and investigated. Brown envelopes were clearly exchanged over this deal!
What an absolute disgrace. Whoever signed off this planning consent should be identified and investigated. Brown envelopes were clearly exchanged over this deal! lucygwa

7:59pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Techno3 says...

Looking at the poor quality of the workmanship in that wall, Mr Ahmed might himself want to make a claim for compensation from the builder.
Looking at the poor quality of the workmanship in that wall, Mr Ahmed might himself want to make a claim for compensation from the builder. Techno3

10:32pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

She should Land Search the property, write to his Lender if he has a Mortgage and put a Charge on His Property to stop him selling up and scarpering.

Once she rattles the Lenders cage, they will put pressure on him to cough up and may even pay out themselves as their Security is affected by his actions.
She should Land Search the property, write to his Lender if he has a Mortgage and put a Charge on His Property to stop him selling up and scarpering. Once she rattles the Lenders cage, they will put pressure on him to cough up and may even pay out themselves as their Security is affected by his actions. Cornbeefur

10:08am Fri 22 Feb 13

sofia1977 says...

What an absolute disgrace....the council are jokers...I have been waiting since August 2012 for planning permission for a gate at the front of my property...Waltham Forest council have taken my £150 but have ignored numerous correspondances.....
.
What an absolute disgrace....the council are jokers...I have been waiting since August 2012 for planning permission for a gate at the front of my property...Waltham Forest council have taken my £150 but have ignored numerous correspondances..... . sofia1977

10:17am Fri 22 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

sofia1977 wrote:
What an absolute disgrace....the council are jokers...I have been waiting since August 2012 for planning permission for a gate at the front of my property...Waltham Forest council have taken my £150 but have ignored numerous correspondances.....

.
Do you need planning permission for a gate?
[quote][p][bold]sofia1977[/bold] wrote: What an absolute disgrace....the council are jokers...I have been waiting since August 2012 for planning permission for a gate at the front of my property...Waltham Forest council have taken my £150 but have ignored numerous correspondances..... .[/p][/quote]Do you need planning permission for a gate? Cornbeefur

10:51am Fri 22 Feb 13

sofia1977 says...

Apparently so....because its slightly taller than an average gate (6ft) ridiculous isnt it?!
Apparently so....because its slightly taller than an average gate (6ft) ridiculous isnt it?! sofia1977

11:53am Fri 22 Feb 13

spcdust says...

How the Council ever granted planning permission for this is beyond me, a ridiculous decision which has obviously caused this woman unwarranted stress and impacts on her quality of life. I would investigate wether you can put a charge on any mortgage applicable to the property.
How the Council ever granted planning permission for this is beyond me, a ridiculous decision which has obviously caused this woman unwarranted stress and impacts on her quality of life. I would investigate wether you can put a charge on any mortgage applicable to the property. spcdust

11:56am Fri 22 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

spcdust wrote:
How the Council ever granted planning permission for this is beyond me, a ridiculous decision which has obviously caused this woman unwarranted stress and impacts on her quality of life. I would investigate wether you can put a charge on any mortgage applicable to the property.
She needs to put a charge on the Title not the Mortgage which will trigger alarm bells with any Mortgage lender if he has a loan that is.

Quite a simple process and she needs some proper advice how to go about it.
[quote][p][bold]spcdust[/bold] wrote: How the Council ever granted planning permission for this is beyond me, a ridiculous decision which has obviously caused this woman unwarranted stress and impacts on her quality of life. I would investigate wether you can put a charge on any mortgage applicable to the property.[/p][/quote]She needs to put a charge on the Title not the Mortgage which will trigger alarm bells with any Mortgage lender if he has a loan that is. Quite a simple process and she needs some proper advice how to go about it. Cornbeefur

11:57am Fri 22 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

sofia1977 wrote:
Apparently so....because its slightly taller than an average gate (6ft) ridiculous isnt it?!
Yes it is stupid when one considers the monstrosities that are proposed, accepted and allowed by the Council.
[quote][p][bold]sofia1977[/bold] wrote: Apparently so....because its slightly taller than an average gate (6ft) ridiculous isnt it?![/p][/quote]Yes it is stupid when one considers the monstrosities that are proposed, accepted and allowed by the Council. Cornbeefur

12:14pm Fri 22 Feb 13

spcdust says...

Cornbeefur wrote:
spcdust wrote:
How the Council ever granted planning permission for this is beyond me, a ridiculous decision which has obviously caused this woman unwarranted stress and impacts on her quality of life. I would investigate wether you can put a charge on any mortgage applicable to the property.
She needs to put a charge on the Title not the Mortgage which will trigger alarm bells with any Mortgage lender if he has a loan that is.

Quite a simple process and she needs some proper advice how to go about it.
I stand corrected, but agree, if she hasn't already then get some proper advice and put a charge on the Title.
[quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]spcdust[/bold] wrote: How the Council ever granted planning permission for this is beyond me, a ridiculous decision which has obviously caused this woman unwarranted stress and impacts on her quality of life. I would investigate wether you can put a charge on any mortgage applicable to the property.[/p][/quote]She needs to put a charge on the Title not the Mortgage which will trigger alarm bells with any Mortgage lender if he has a loan that is. Quite a simple process and she needs some proper advice how to go about it.[/p][/quote]I stand corrected, but agree, if she hasn't already then get some proper advice and put a charge on the Title. spcdust

1:24pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Slodown says...

Selfish, inconsiderate and large extensions like this seem to be on the increase in all areas.
Once the extension has been completed, additional family members move in.
Large extended family living in one house paying only same amount of Council Tax as this lady.
Selfish, inconsiderate and large extensions like this seem to be on the increase in all areas. Once the extension has been completed, additional family members move in. Large extended family living in one house paying only same amount of Council Tax as this lady. Slodown

1:27pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Slodown says...

Selfish, inconsiderate and large extensions like this seem to be on the increase in all areas.
Once the extension has been completed, additional family members move in.
Large extended family living in one house paying only same amount of Council Tax as this unfortunate lady.
Selfish, inconsiderate and large extensions like this seem to be on the increase in all areas. Once the extension has been completed, additional family members move in. Large extended family living in one house paying only same amount of Council Tax as this unfortunate lady. Slodown

2:04pm Thu 28 Feb 13

T. Watts says...

The full story isn't recorded here. Yes, he did get planning permission - for a much smaller extension. He then went ahead and built one much bigger than he had applied for.

To me, that is grounds for her to get it demolished, never mind wasting time going to court and getting compensation that he has no intention of paying.

Also, look at the quality of the build - I'm sure she could also use Building Regs to get it demolished.
The full story isn't recorded here. Yes, he did get planning permission - for a much smaller extension. He then went ahead and built one much bigger than he had applied for. To me, that is grounds for her to get it demolished, never mind wasting time going to court and getting compensation that he has no intention of paying. Also, look at the quality of the build - I'm sure she could also use Building Regs to get it demolished. T. Watts

4:56pm Wed 20 Mar 13

lynlizz says...

What remarks we have posted here!!!

May be we should check on the council
websight like i just did and see for our selfs.

It seems quite clear he has built what is on the planes and nothing bigger than that.

He was granted the build the council if anything the council should have told him about the civil law they state in there remarks on this story in this edition of the guardian and the both neighbours would not be in this postion today.
So we should not be one sided because they done all they could regarding planning . ! THE COUNCIL SHOULD SORT THIS OUT FOR THEM BOTH!
What remarks we have posted here!!! May be we should check on the council websight like i just did and see for our selfs. It seems quite clear he has built what is on the planes and nothing bigger than that. He was granted the build the council if anything the council should have told him about the civil law they state in there remarks on this story in this edition of the guardian and the both neighbours would not be in this postion today. So we should not be one sided because they done all they could regarding planning . ! THE COUNCIL SHOULD SORT THIS OUT FOR THEM BOTH! lynlizz

5:02pm Wed 20 Mar 13

lynlizz says...

How can it be that now he is a (nightmare neighbour ) that was the heading on this paper.

Anyone even thought of the stress on the other side yet?

People should really STOP being one sided.
How can it be that now he is a (nightmare neighbour ) that was the heading on this paper. Anyone even thought of the stress on the other side yet? People should really STOP being one sided. lynlizz

5:24pm Wed 20 Mar 13

a20asf says...

!WOW! What a story.

Just had some time spare just caught up with is story, Lynlizz you are quite correct in what you said.

Both are suffering becouse the council did not even bother to tell him about civil action she could still take action against him even after the granted the permission anfter all the fuss Mrs Coughlan to the council could the council not see what would happen.
Sorry for both of them.

May be we should help them both in this???
!WOW! What a story. Just had some time spare just caught up with is story, Lynlizz you are quite correct in what you said. Both are suffering becouse the council did not even bother to tell him about civil action she could still take action against him even after the granted the permission anfter all the fuss Mrs Coughlan to the council could the council not see what would happen. Sorry for both of them. May be we should help them both in this??? a20asf

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