Homeowner calls for probe into council's handling of neighbour dispute (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Woodford Bridge homeowner calls for probe into council's handling of neighbour dispute
A homeowner is calling for an investigation into Redbridge Council’s role in a long-running planning dispute she claims has left her home damaged and saleable.
Tariq Ahmed built an extension without planning permission less than a yard from Helen Coughlan’s kitchen window in Highfield Road, Woodford Bridge.
But the 52-year-old has accused the council of refusing to act, despite claiming the foundations of her house were damaged by the building work and its value has plummeted by £60,000.
She is now set to appeal to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, for an investigation into the authority’s handling of the case.
Mrs Coughlan said: "The council are hiding behind legal jargon and it is unacceptable.
"I don’t have the money to take the council to court so I am doing the only thing I can do, which is to go straight to central government.
"No one will talk to us from the council, and it is childish really. It seems like all it wants to do is wash its hands of the situation. But I believe it has a responsibility to sort it out.
"It has been a stressful and challenging time for us and we feel we have nowhere to go on this, so we are appealing to Eric Pickles for a full investigation into the case."
Mr Ahmed was given planning permission by Redbridge Council in November 2010 to build a two-story extension, but he strayed from the original agreement and increased the size of the extension.
In December 2012, Mr Ahmed agreed to an out of court settlement of £30,000, plus legal costs, which he pays to Mrs Coughlan in monthly instalments.
But damage to Mrs Coughlan's house has been left unrepaired, and both Redbridge Council and Mr Ahmed are refusing to pay costs.
Redbridge Council has been approached for comment by the Guardian.
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